Archive | August, 2013

Rosemary Peach “Breakfast” Cookies

21 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Rosemary Peach "Breakfast" Cookies

It looks like we’re talking cookies this week!

Honestly, it’s probably mean for me to share this recipe as we close out peach season because it really necessitates getting your hands on a good number of lovely, ripe peaches.  There is always a chance that you can… and if you can, you now have a great way to use them!

This recipe is really a tweaked version of Martha Stewart’s Fresh Peach Drop Cookies that I’ve added to my repertoire to utilize the rosemary peach butter I made thanks to a fabulously easy recipe from Kate at Food Babbles. (Not familiar with Food Babbles? Do this now- open new tab, check out Food Babbles, drool, bookmark and pin recipes.  I’ll be here waiting for you when you’re done!)

The name of these cookies is a bit of a misnomer and comes from one of my husband’s coworkers.  At the end of each quarter, I become somewhat of a business team room mom for my hubby and his coworkers to help cheer them through moderately insane hours.  I made these cookies for his team last quarter the day after I sent a chocolate chop cookie cake that his coworker insisted could be considered a breakfast cookie since it arrived in the morning.  These Rosemary Peach Cookies went to work with my husband the following day with the understanding that they were a far more acceptable breakfast option than cookie cake.

You shouldn’t eat cookies for breakfast.

But if you did eat these for breakfast it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Especially since these are easy to make and best enjoyed warm and fresh.

I’m just saying…

Go Running, Mama!- Rosemary Peach "Breakfast" Cookies


Rosemary Peach “Breakfast” Cookies

  • 2 c + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c coconut palm sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large ripe peaches- peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/3 c + 1 tbs Rosemary Peach Butter
  • 2 tbs rosemary infused granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ceylon cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk together 2 c flour, salt, and baking soda.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1/2 c granulated sugar, coconut palm sugar, and butter on medium-high until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add in egg and vanilla.  Beat in the flour mixture in two additions.

Toss peaches with remaining 2 tbs of flour.  Mix peaches and peach butter into the batter until well incorporated.

Drop generous tablespoons of dough  about two inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Combine rosemary sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle the tops of cookies with 1/8 tsp of the sugar mixture.

Bake cookies for 6 minutes then rotate baking sheet and bake 5-6 minutes more.  Cool slightly on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack.

Makes 36-40 cookies.

Something to Celebrate: My BRF’s Runiversary

20 Aug Go Running, Mama!- My BRF's Runiversary

I’m not a life long runner.  I didn’t start running until after I gave birth to Baby Bird and when I started I hated it.  But I saw results… and I cleared my mind… and I felt like a better person as time wore on and the miles got easier.  As I often say, running made me the person I was always meant to be- it transformed me into me.

Apparently other people could see those changes in me as well.  Over the past two years, I’ve gotten lots of questions about my “running testimonial” from people (most frequently “Why the heck would you choose running!?”) and every once and awhile someone feels moved to give running a shot themselves to see if they too can experience the near transcendence I often describe.

Exactly a year ago, while I was in the thick of training for my first full marathon I received the following text from my very good friend Rachel while she was trying to kill time during a predictably redundant teacher training session:

Go Running, Mama!- My BRF's Runiversary

Over the course of the next four hours (if you are a veteran teacher who has been subjected to inservice geared towards first year educators, you can totally understand why she had so much time to kill), our text conversation transformed from the idea of Rachel beginning to run to planning to help her train for her first half marathon in six months time.  And that afternoon, Rachel went for a run.

And she hated it.

But she stuck with it.

And she saw results… and she cleared her mind… and she felt like a better mother, wife, friend, and teacher as time wore on and the miles got easier.

Go Running, Mama!- My BRF's Runiversary

In February, I had the privilege of pacing her through her first half marathon.  She may have sworn at me.  I may have physically drug her up the hill affectionately termed “the big one.”  I may have sort of peed my pants so that I wouldn’t have to stop and throw off her rhythm and momentum.  And she may have finished 10 minutes ahead of her goal time… and 5 minutes faster than my first half marathon.

Because she is awesome, fierce, and powerful… as a mother, wife, friend and teacher.

As a runner.

Go Running, Mama!- My BRF's Runiversary

Happy Runiversary, Rachel!  I’m looking forward to all the miles to come.


Coconut Ginger Wafers

19 Aug

It’s a Monday.  Sometimes Mondays just need a cookie.  And sometimes baking and eating a sugary or chocolatey batch of homemade cookies leaves me feeling slightly (okay… OVERWHELMINGLY) piggish for the rest of the week.

On such Mondays, it’s good to have a cookie in your arsenal that feels less cookie-esque.  An uncookie.

“Where could I find such a cookie?” you might be asking.

Don’t worry dear friends- I’ve got you covered.

Go Running, Mama!- Coconut Ginger Wafer

Enter the Coconut Ginger Wafer (See… I’m not even calling them cookies so clearly there is no way you could overindulge!).  These babies are light, crisp, packed with healthful coconut, and just the right balance of zingy and tropical without being cloying.

Indulge your sweet tooth without sabotaging a new week of goals just waiting for you to put your best foot forward.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Go Running, Mama!- Coconut Ginger Wafer

Coconut Ginger Biscuits

  • I c + 2 tbs shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c + 2 tbs coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • ginger infused granulated sugar
  • water

Directions: Whisk together dry ingredients (excluding granulated sugar) in a mixing bowl.

Stir in water by the tablespoon to make a thick dough.  You will add around 6 tbs.  Thoroughly mix between each addition to allow liquid to distribute evenly and to avoid adding too much water.

Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to make dough more manageable to work with.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll dough slightly thinner than 1/4 inch thickness between two pieces of parchment paper.  Remove top layer of parchment and cut dough into rounds using a two inch diameter circular cookie cutter.  Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake cookies 9-10 minutes until just beginning to brown on the edges.

Collect leftover dough, return to refrigerator to chill while cookies bake, then repeat from the rolling step until remaining dough has been used.

Transfer immediately to a cooling rack to cook completely before serving.

Best- and most crisp- if consumed the day they are baked.  Must be stored in an airtight container.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Getting It Back: #Rogamonth and Virtual Races

16 Aug Go Running, Mama!- #rogamonth and Virtual Races

In January, when I received my bib number for the WDW Goofy Challenge I discovered I had been corralled incorrectly and was starting even further back than my modest times would normally provided.  Unfortunately, when we arrived at Disney World to pick up our bibs at the expo the line for corrections was exceptionally long and we were on the verge of missing our ADR at O’hana which would have been an unacceptable faux pas in the eyes of our exceptionally excited toddler.

Go Running, Mama- #Rogamonth and VIrtual Races

Baby Bird entertains herself (and Grandma) while she waits for Mama to finish the marathon leg of Goofy- there was no way this patient kiddo should have to miss dinner at O’hana!

Oh well… having lost some training time due having the flu over the holidays I figured I would be slower than normal and I was already staring down something near eight hours of running in the two day span so what would it matter if my gun time was an hour behind others?  In truth, it didn’t matter too terribly much except that marathon day ended up being so hot once the sun was out that every extra minute made what seemed like a major difference.  Bobbing and weaving around walkers and lollygaggers was exceptionally aggravating.  Sure, I was further back than I should have been but the extra agitations magnified the situation in my mind as the miles wore on.  Being in the back was starting to suck.

After that race, I decided that I was ready to commit myself training hard enough to get out of the slow corrals.  Two months later, after lots of sweat and a few tears, I rounded a huge corner and finished 13.1 miles of rolling hills with a finish time of 1:58:34, a major feat in that it was 25 minutes faster than my previous half marathon PR.  Success!  I was rolling!

I kept the momentum going as summer approached.  I was running more, training harder, listening to my coach’s feedback and my body’s cues… and I was on cloud nine.  Even as the weather heated up, I kept seeing improvements.

And then I had surgery.  And had to stop all activity for four weeks.

When I returned to running it was in the dead heat of the summer and with stalled momentum after feeling pretty invincible.  Nothing seemed to be going right.  I was slower.  I couldn’t hit my paces.  I was out of the morning run routine.  Ick!

I was having a hard time figuring out how to look beyond my little world and become part of the larger running universe again.  I needed a nugget of the inspiration and public accountability that comes with a race.  Luckily, the month of August provided two great accountability methods for me to get back on track through virtual races and a little insta-accountability!

In an unbelievably timely way, Jost Running offered me the complimentary opportunity to participate in their virtual races for August through October.  The Nike Women’s Virtual Half Marathon was the only other virtual race I’d done and it was an amazing experience because A) it was the first time I’d ever run more than 10 miles B) it was my first race since middle school track and C) it gave birth to the amazingness that is Team Victorious!  Given my previous positive experience, it seemed like an awesome way to bump up my accountability while still training on my own terms to get back to where I knew I could be before we kick off race season here in Austin at the end of September.

A few fine ladies on instagram (Jen from Why I Run, Julia from Running on Om, Susie from Long Run Yoga, Toney from Ultra Toney Trainer, and Humble Beginnings Yoga) also started the month long #rogamonth challenge to get yogis running and runners yogi-ing(?) with the added accountability of an instagram community.  Heck, I can’t avoid it if I need to take a picture of it, can I!?

Go Running, Mama!- #rogamonth and Virtual Races

On the 5th day of Rogamonth, I did the Jost Virtual 5k benefiting ALS.  With a 30:16 finish, it certainly wasn’t my fastest but it was a great way to get myself moving again and to see my finisher stats alongside the other participants for encouragement.  If felt good to step out the door that morning knowing I was accountable for my time- whatever time my body might be ready for that day- and give ownership to my recovery training.  I’ll be doing the August Jost Half Marathon soon with the added challenge of running at high altitude, so I’m sure a hilarious recap will follow.

Additionally, I’ve been keeping up with my Rogamonth challenges.  Feel free to help keep me accountable on instagram… if for no other reason than to watch me yoga it up with my toddler or while vacuuming.  Hey, fit moms make it work!

Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

14 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

This week is choreography camp at the dance studio which means every studio room is jam packed with company dancers from 9 am until 4 pm.  The energy is awesome and Baby Bird was beside herself with excitement when she got to step in and watch the big girls do their dances.  But bless our creative directors’ hearts… they are working like mad women!

Yesterday when we came home from Baby Bird’s combo class, she mentioned that she wanted to make a treat for her favorite instructor, whom she had seen running room from room that morning working on numbers for multiple company categories, to “help her feel better” (I can’t say enough about how much I love that little one’s kindness of spirit) so I suggested we make some Calm Down Cookies!

These little shortbread buttons are delicately scented both from the chamomile and orange blossom water and are the perfect conclusion to a hectic day.  We brought a batch up to the studio last night and I’m hoping Baby Bird’s favorite teacher found a moment to unwind with a cup of hot tea and a cookie or two… or twelve- dancers burn serious calories!

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

Calm Down Cookies- Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

For Cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 high quality chamomile teabags
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water

For Glaze:

  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbs local honey
  • 2 tbs almond milk plus more if needed
  • 1/4 tsp orange blossom water
  • pinch of fine salt

Directions: Empty four tea bags into food processor or burr grinder.  Grind contents until they are very fine.

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

In a mixing bowl, whisk flour and salt.  Using a fine sieve, sift ground tea leaves into bowl and whisk contents together.  Set aside.

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, confectioner’s sugar, and orange blossom water in a mixing bowl on medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed and add flour mixture in two additions until just combined.

Empty remaining tea bag into food processor of burr grinder.  Grind contents until they are very fine.  In a small bowl, whisk ground tea leaves and granulated sugar together.

Divide dough in half, placing each half on a sheet of parchment paper.  Roll each half into a log about2 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle half of the granulated sugar mixture over each log and roll again to coat the exterior of each log with the granulated sugar.

Wrap each log in parchment paper and freeze for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove a log from the freezer and slice cookies 1/2 inch thick.  Place on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper about one inch apart.  Bake for 13-15 minutes until just beginning to brown on the edges.  Remove to cooling rack positioned over parchment immediately.

While cookies are baking, whisk almond milk, honey, and orange blossom water in a shallow mixing bowl to make glaze.  Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar in three additions and mix until smooth.

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

While cookies are still warm, dunk the tops in glaze and return them to the cooling rack to set.  If  glaze thickens, thin with more almond milk and whisk until smooth.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Go Running, Mama!- Calm Down Cookies: Chamomile Shortbread Buttons with Orange Blossom Glaze

Get to Know Your Grains: Quinoa (Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars)

12 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars; clean, healthy snack or breakfast on the go

About eight years ago I was exposed to quinoa at Walt Disney World while staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Boma, the African buffet restaurant on property, served a hot quinoa breakfast porridge every morning and even without knowing its nutritional prowress I found it to be a delightfully tasty alternative to normal breakfast cereals.  I knew I just had to have it as a morning meal option in my own home.  Anyone who has been to WDW knows that they do customer service right so when I asked about how it was prepared, the chef provided me with the preparation method and recipe.

When I returned home, I did a little research on this mystery grain and quickly learned that it was quite the super grain.  Along with preparing quinoa in the mornings I started seeking out other ways to enjoy it.  At that point I was living in Houston and the fabulous Monica Pop would sell a red quinoa salad (that I have often tried to copy, yet have never managed to get quite right) at the T’afia farmers market that became a common staple for me.  I also started making a quinoa and flax granola occasionally that- looking back- seemed very forward thinking despite the fact that my friends made fun of me for taking time to home make a seedy little granola.  It’s probably one of the biggest contributors to my crunchy hippie reputation amongst my NFL dance friends.

By now I think most everyone is familiar with quinoa and has used it at least once in their kitchen- even if it’s simply been in place of rice as a side dish.  And however you might use it, you’re doing your health some serious favors.  Nutritional evaluations of quinoa lead most dietitians to classify it as a complete protein.  It’s high in antioxidants, phytonutrients and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempherol- higher, in fact, than the celebrated cranberry.  It contains eight essential amino acids yet is low in fat.  It is gluten free.  It’s easy to prepare and store for midweek meals.  No wonder it’s considered the “Mother Grain.”

To be frank, practically the only way you can go wrong with quinoa is to pronounce it phonetically.  Stop with the “kwin-oh-uh”… it pronounced “Keen-wah.”

Say it with me- “Keeeeeen-waaaah.”

Now go eat some!

Nutritional Information (1/2 c prepared quinoa)-

  • Calories- 111
  • Total Fat- 4 g
  • Sodium- 7 mg
  • Carbohydrates- 19.5 g
  • Fiber- 2.5 g
  • Protein- 4 g
  • Vitamin E- .6 mg
  • Thiamin- .1 mg
  • Riboflavin- .1 mg
  • Niacin- .4 mg
  • Vitamin B6- .1 mg
  • Folate- 37.5 mcg
  • Calcium- 16 mg
  • Iron- 1.4 mg
  • Magnesium- 59 mg
  • Phosphorus- 140.5 mg
  • Zinc- 1 mg

Go Running, Mama!- Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars; clean, healthy snack or breakfast on the go

These are perfect for my toddler’s snack during dance camp because they pack a protein punch!  If you’re making them for adults, up the flavor factor by tossing in some additional baking spices.  You can also toss in raisins to make them more similar to traditional granola bars for bigger kiddos.

Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars

  • 2 1/2 c quinoa, prepared and at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs flax meal
  • 6 tbs water
  • 1/3 c almond milk (I’m crazy for Califia Farms)
  • 1/3 c grade B maple syrup
  • 1 tbs local honey
  • 1 tbs cinnamon (ceylon is the best bet for use in this quantity)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 370 degrees F.

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.

In a small mise en place bowl, mix flax meal with water and allow to congeal.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and flax meal mixture.  Reserving quinoa, add remaining ingredients and whisk once again.

Add quinoa and mix well to combine.

Pour into parchment lined baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Allow to cool 10 minutes in pan before removing on parchment to a cooling rack.

Once completely cool, cut in  a 2 inch grid to create 16 bars.

Zucchini Pie with Zucchini Lattice Crust

7 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Pie with Zucchini Lattice Top

I love Whole Foods Market.  Have I mentioned that yet?  If I haven’t I apologize because I think it is one of those facts about me that is essential to know in order to fully grasp my personality.  When I say I love Whole Foods, I’m not throwing the word around is a flippant manner… it is a love with a purity so inspiring and real I’m shocked I haven’t written and published a book of odes about it.  I love it.

When our family moves (which we have a tendency to do) or we select a vacation hotel, proximity to the closest Whole Foods is always a top three factor.  If you’re close to a WHole Foods, you’re always guaranteed easy access to healthy, tasty fare that is often far more reasonably priced than respectable restaurant meal that you could purchase elsewhere of equal quality.

I know people like to refer to it as “Whole Paycheck” because if you try to shop there the way many people are used to shopping major discount grocery chains it is going to cost you an arm and a leg!  Shopping Whole Foods requires you to shop smarter and figure out where your food dollars are best spent… and then not waste money on filler junk that you shouldn’t buy anywhere anyways.  Plus where else can you conveniently find coconut aminos, soy free miso, bulk heirloom dried beans, and a fishmonger stocked on sustainability practices in one place?

Don’t need any of those items above and still think it’s an unjustifiable budget breaker? Then clearly you haven’t discovered The Whole Deal. The Whole Deal is WFM’s monthly coupon flyer which is very useful for the savings it offers, but is even better for the budget recipes it shares each month.  There are quite a few meals in frequent rotation at our house that were inspired by Whole Deal recipes all under $4 a serving.

This month’s Whole Deal featured a Feat and Zucchini Pie that they calculate at $1.44 per serving… if it’s cut into 8 servings.  I’ve tweaked it a bit, upping the zucchini content, adding a zucchini lattice top, and sprinkling some spices to give it appeal to my family’s palate… so maybe now it’s $2 per serving when it’s cut into 8 servings.  In reality, I feel like this would feed four adults and one toddler (or 4.5 people!?)  which would make it around $3.55 per serving.  Not too shabby a price for a healthy meal packed with the season’s plentiful squash crop… and it would be even cheaper if you luck onto a sale or happen to grow a little zucchini in your backyard.

A pretty tasty deal indeed!

Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Pie with Zucchini Lattice Top

Zucchini Pie with Zucchini Lattice Crust

  • 2 lbs zucchini (about 3 meium zucchini)
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 frozen  or homemade pie crust

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut both ends off of one zucchini.  Using a mandoline slicer, slice that zucchini lengthwise thinly to prepare enough slices for the lattice top (I used about 16 slices- it will vary depending on length of your zucchini) and reserve remaining zucchini to grate.  Stack slices into two stacks based on width- this will help you to pair overlapping strips when topping to pie with lattice work.

Position a box grater over a kitchen towel. Grate remaining zucchini onto the towel.  Gather the shredded zucchini in the towel and wring over the sink to remove excess liquid.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and flour.  Stir in cheese, zucchini, and spices.  Mix well to combine.

Pour mixture into pie crust shell.  Using lattice technique (Simply Recipes has a great photo tutorial– you would basically start with step two) top the pie with zucchini strips, overlapping strips as needed to cover length of pie taking care to use strips of similar widths when overlapping.  Crimp the edges of the pie crust down over the exposed outside edges of the zucchini strips.

Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Pie with Zucchini Lattice Top

Bake for 50-55 minutes until firm.

Serves (realistically) 4 adults and a toddler.

This Week’s Game Changer: Roasted Tomato and Corn Shortcakes

6 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Roasted Tomato and Corn Shortcakes with Caramelized Onions, Cilantro, and Cojita Cheese

Go Running, Mama!- Roasted Tomato and Corn Shortcakes with Caramelized Onions, Cilantro, and Cojita Cheese

I was mighty proud of myself when I went to sleep on Sunday night because not only did I have a pretty full week of blogs planned out, but I also have them mostly written and scheduled!  This might not seem like a huge feat to those who run a blogging empire, but from the perspective of a dabbler with a three week old blog it’s a pretty big deal since I’m still it the process of getting everything setup around here at “Go Running, Mama!”

I was super excited about starting the week out knowing that I could start working on the weeks to come- a thought that made the over-planner in me giddy.  But then something happened that changed my plan.  Something wonderful that had to be shared immediately– no waiting allowed. That “thing” was last night’s dinner.

I’ll spare you the usual adorable story or witty anecdote and skip right to the good stuff- this recipe deserves that level of respect.  All you need to know is that I’ve been haunted by the idea that roasted tomato and corn shortcake could be an amazing thing for quite some time.  During yesterday’s trip to the market, there was a great price on beautiful corn and cherry tomatoes so I indulged my hunch.

Go Running, Mama!- Roasted Tomato and Corn Shortcakes with Caramelized Onions, Cilantro, and Cojita Cheese

The Major Players- legit shortcake, diced cojita cheese, roasted corn, caramelized onions, roasted cherry tomatoes, and cilantro

I’m so glad I did.

Ladies and gentlemen, without further delay I present…

Go Running, Mama!- Roasted Tomato and Corn Shortcakes with Caramelized Onions, Cilantro, and Cojita Cheese

Roasted Tomato and Corn Shortcakes

For the shortcakes:

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbs butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 tbs melted butter
  • 2 tbs palm shortening
  • 3/4 c + 1 tbs plain kefir

For the filling:

  • 2 fresh ears of corn, husks intact
  • 1 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • a handful of cilantro
  • 3 oz Cojita cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions (My method included using two ovens.  You could use one, but your active cook time with take longer.): Preheat one over to 350 degrees F and the other to 400 degrees F.

Coat a saute pan with olive oil and heat pan to medium/medium-high.  Add onions and season with 1/2 tsp salt.  Throughout preparation of crust cook onions, stirring occasionally.  Once onions begin to brown, reduce heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown. Add water by the tsp if onions begin to dry out.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Remove only the outermost husks from the corn and detach the silk tassel if still intact.  Roast corn directly on a rack positioned in the middle of the 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

In a small baking dish, add tomatoes and drizzle with 4 tsp olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, until tomatoes begin to split.

In a food processor, combine all dry ingredients for the shortcakes and pulse to combine.  Add cold butter and shortening and pulse until mixture is crumbly and no large chunks of butter or shortening exist.  Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in kefir.

Once you remove tomatoes from the oven, increase temperature to 450 degrees F.  Drop shortcake dough onto cookie sheet in large rounded spoonfuls.  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes.

Remove corn cobs from oven.  Using an oven mitt, peel back the husks but do not remove as they can be used to hold the ear of corn.  Cut the corn kernels from the cobs into a bowl.

While shortcakes bake, separate cilantro leaves from stems and roughly chop.  Dice cheese into small cubes.

To assemble, split shortcakes in half.  Layer caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, roasted corn kernels, cheese, and cilantro.


Serves 4 adults and 2 toddlers.

Meeska… Mooska… Mouseka-Cakes: Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties

5 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties; easy, healthy, make ahead meals in fun character shapes

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling icky!  As can be expected when you have a toddler in the house, Baby Bird sensed this and decided to wake up extra early while Daddy was our for his long run and swim.  She pampered me with lots of hugs and kisses- which I adore from my sweet girl- but she also wanted my undivided attention directed towards making character voices for all of her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse character dolls.  Not exactly a relaxing moment of recovery.  Though caffeine is normally avoided in our household, caffeine made a welcome appearance as I did my very best Goofy impersonation waiting for Daddy to make it home.

Go Running, Mama!

I do my best to be a super healthy gal, but sometimes this happens.

Since there is no such thing as a mama sick day, I knew I wasn’t going to get tons of rest which meant I needed to try to buy myself some time wherever possible.  On top of that, I wanted to attempt to stay in my home in my yoga shorts, sweatshirt, compression socks, and totally-not-of-the-moment-for-a-30-plus-year-old-mother messy bun barring medical emergency or fire.

One problem- I needed to go to the grocery store.  Aside from a major run on the market last week for end of the season peaches, I hadn’t purchased much produce lately as I was working through what he had in the fridge.  I also haven’t gotten a CSA order in a few weeks since we have been in and out of town.  And, thanks to feeling icky, I forgot to confirm this week’s Monday order so I wont start my week off with a rescue box of goodies.

Even if I had remembered to confirm my order I still would have been in a jam because Baby Bird has Mickey Mouse Dance Camp this week thus a yummy lunch that is both toddler friendly and toddler manageable must be packed for 5 days.

So my choices were a) go to the store b) make it work and get creative in the kitchen.

I’m sure someone is looking at that and thinking “hmmm… isn’t ‘c) send your husband to the store’ an option?”

In short- no.

No, it’s not an option.  My husband is very helpful.  He is very kind.  He will shop for every item on our list.  But he will also call me about each item as though I must guide him to the exact location for each and every thing like I’m the world’s only grocery Onstar.  He is a perfectionist and wants to bring home exactly what I needed.  But when I’m feeling bleh- done is better than perfect, so that was a no-go.  Plus, his weekend time is far better spent loving on Baby Bird than going Whole Foods Orienteering.

Don’t fret!  There’s a little something you should know about Jenn- cooking is almost like breathing to me.  Seriously… if I haven’t cooked something recently it’s possible that I’m dead.  Running, dancing, and cooking are cathartic experiences for me and since we don’t have a treadmill or a dance room at our house, a good deal of home time is spent in the kitchen having fun.  And anyways, this past Thanksgiving when I was so sick with the “super flu” that I could barely stand up I managed to rally and cook a 5 course meal (in aseptic technique a la the science lab teacher I used to be) that I couldn’t even eat so feeling icky is just a minor bump when it comes to food action.  I may train for marathons on the pavement, but I also train for moments like this in my kitchen.  Trust me- there are at as many miles on my Kitchenaid stand mixer as there are on my most recent three pairs of Adidas Bostons combined!

But I digress.  Back to the challenge at hand…

The produce situation was abysmal.  There were some berries (score for lunch bag snacks!) and TWO ZUCCHINI left over from the previous evening’s zucchini pie.  That’s it for fresh and seasonal.  Sad.

Luckily, last week my sweet friend Laura and I were chatting about the big hits in our toddlers’ dining repertoire as we waited for our girls in toddler yoga and she happened to mention that her little one could always be counted on to eat quinoa patties.  Quinoa patties are awesome because they are an easy “disposal” food for any leftover chopped veggies you have on hand as well as an ideal vehicle in which to hide nutrient dense greens that can sometimes be a struggle for picky eaters. Plus they freeze really well.  I had totally forgotten about how great and easy they were and made a mental note to make some for Baby Bird soon.

Go Running, Mama!

Baby Bird still hasn’t quite grasped the hand placement for bridge!

Since we always have a plethora of quinoa on hand, soon became Sunday as I knew they would pack will in a toddler lunch and require no utensils.  Quinoa patties were a perfect fit for some grated zucchini and they also gave me the opportunity to use up some leftover black beans and corn kernels from last Friday night’s Southwestern pizza.

I made a little more quinoa than I needed for the patties as well so I could whip up a batch of Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars that could pack easily for snack time at camp as well as make an easy breakfast if I wasn’t in tip top shape by morning.

Instead of the usual round patties, I went for a Mickey Mouse shape.  How fun will that be for Baby Bird when she eats her Mouseka-lunch at Mouseka-camp!?

The quinoa patty experience reminded me one of one of the biggest encouragements for starting this blog- remembering all the things I’ve done that I feel are worth repeating!  On that note… thanks for virtually hanging out with me and helping to clear my never ending case of Mommy-brain.


Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties; easy, healthy, make ahead meals in fun character shapes

Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties

  • 1 1/2 c quinoa, prepared and cooled to room temperature (about 1/2 c quinoa cooked in 1 1/2 c water or stock)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1/2 corn kernels (I used frozen- defrosted)
  • 1/3 c black beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs flax meal
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1 tbs chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp prepared dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Position a box grater over a kitchen towel. Grate the zucchini onto the towel.  Gather the shredded zucchini in the towel and wring over the sink to remove excess liquid.

In a small mise en place bowl, mix flax meal and water and allow to congeal.

Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add corn, beans, and shredded zucchini and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to incorporate and remove pan from heat to cool.

In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg.  Add flax meal mixture, flour, and chives and beat once more to incorporate.  Add the quinoa to the egg mixture. and mix.  Turn the zucchini mixture onto a cutting board and roughly chop before adding to the egg mixture.  Mix well to combine.

Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties; easy, healthy, make ahead meal

Spoon mix into cookie cutter

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using a cookie cutter (Our Mickey Mouse cutter encompasses the combined area of a 3.5 inch biscuit cutter, so if you are making these for adults a round cookie cutter about 3.5 inched in diameter will work perfectly!) spoon the mixture into the cookie cutter until it fills the cutter halfway.  Gently slide the cookie cutter off of the patty and repeat, making sure to space them out enough that you can flip them halfway through cooking with a spatula without disturbing the shape.

Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties; easy, healthy, make ahead meals in fun character shapes

Remove cookie cutter carefully to maintain shape

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven to flip and then bake for another 15 minutes, rotating the pan when you return it to the oven.

Makes about 16 patties (8 servings)

Question for y’all: Does anyone else have a great, easy tried and true recipe you wish you didn’t frequently “forget?”

Get to Know Your Grains: Pearl Barley (Barley Salad with Tomatoes and Peaches)

1 Aug Go Running, Mama!- Get to Know Your Grains: Pearl Barley Salad with Tomatoes and Peaches

I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a household whose carbohydrate consumption came from potatoes, white rice, white bread, and enriched wheat pasta.  Who can blame my mom?  She was feeding a family consisting of two carnivorous meataterians who abhorred cruciferous veggies and anything “new”, herself- a lifelong locavore gardener and diet dabbler, and me- an angsty teen vegetarian weirded out by beans- on a limited budget in a suburb where access to alternative choices was limited.  As can be imagined in such circumstances, by the time I graduated from college the thought of consuming another baked potato or serving white rice next to baked chikin was enough to fully extinguish my appetite.

When I started branching out as an adult, I have to admit that it took a little getting used to when experimenting with grains that had actual flavor, complexity and mouth-feel.  I wasn’t used to really having to chew carbs.  Fast forward to the present and I’m pretty sure that at this point I could differentiate between most grains in a blind taste test based on texture and flavor (Uh oh… Did I just discover a new, lame party trick for myself!?)

I’m normally a Whole Foods shopper, but in the un-suburban Stepford-esque utopian community I live in there is a pretty fancy HEB supermarket within easy jogging distance so every once and awhile I will shop there with the Baby Bird especially since they installed a “Buddy Bucks” machine that gives kiddos points for every Buddy Buck they earn while being helpful shoppers (I don’t know for sure, but the CEO must have a toddler!).  I’ve noticed that they have a pretty impressive bulk including nuts, spices, “healthier” treats, and grains.  I’ve also noticed that normally the only people shopping the grains when I’m there is myself and the Bird who always points out to me that everyone else is “getsing the Sunny Fruits snacks” instead.

It’s human nature to default to the things we are most familiar with, so I can only assume that is what is happening with grains- if you’re not familiar maybe you avoid them!?  That makes me sad because I LOVE grains, so I thought I’d start a little informal series spotlighting some really great grains.

Barley seemed like a great place to start because I made an awesome, easy meal with it several days ago.  And because most people think of beer first when they think of barley which, even though great beer is awesomeness, totally sells barely short. In this recipe I used pearl barley which is refined slightly for quicker cooking time.

A bit about pearl barley…

Pearl (or “pearled) barley is a wheat free- but NOT gluten free– grain option.  Pearl barley is barley that has had part of its outer bran layer removed along with the hull making it, technically, a refined grain.  Barley however contains fiber throughout the entire kernel and not just the outer layer so it retains beneficial fiber and associated nutrients through processing.  Pearl barley cooks much quicker than whole grain barley.  Look for pearl barley that is tan in color as opposed to white to ensure it has retained some of its outer bran layer for maximum nutrient density.

Nutrition Information (1/2 c cooked pearl barley)

  • Calories- 97
  • Carbohydrates- 22 g
  • Fiber- 3 g
  • Total Fat- .35 g
    • Saturated- .5 g
    • Monounsaturated- .5 g
    • Polyunsaturated- .15 g
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids- 16.5 mg
    • Omega-6 Fatty Acids- 101.5 mg
  •  Protein- 1.75 g
  • Vitamin K- .6 mcg
  • Thiamin- .05 mg
  • Riboflavin- .05 mg
  • Niacin- 1.6 mg
  • Vitamin B6- .1mg
  • Folate- 12.5 mcg
  • Calcium- 8.6 mg
  • Iron- 1 mg

Go Running, Mama!- Get to Know Your Grains: Pearl Barley Salad with Tomatoes and Peaches

Pearl Barley Salad with Tomatoes and Peaches

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 lb (about two) heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 peach
  • several sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • pepper

Directions: Boil barley in a pot a water for 20 minutes.

While barley is boiling, diced tomatoes and peach.  Strip thyme sprigs of their leaves and add to tomato/peach mixture.  Add olive oil, minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to combine and coat.

After 20 minutes drain barley and rinse with cold water.  Toss tomato mixture into barley.

Serves- 3 adults and 1 toddler as a meal.

Remember to carefully check the package on all foods you purchase and consume if you are excluding an allergen or ingredient from your diet.  Just because the raw ingredient normally does not include an allergen does not mean that certain brands do not process or expose ingredients to allergens.  Know your brands and their manufacturing processes!