Tagged: chocolate

Chocolate for Breakfast, Please & Thank You

Well hello there!!

What’s it been? 7 months? Yikes!

The hiatus was definitely necessary. Not because I DON’T enjoy blogging.
But because I DO enjoy being a Mom!!
Time has gone by so, insanely fast it’s hard for me to believe!

mom and em

At 10 months old, my sweet little Emma Bear has finally almost fallen into a routine!


This means a few things:

  1. With naps a part of the every day I have more me time – for things like exercise and blogging;
  2. Without being latched onto me 24/7, I am finally starting to have the time to experiment with new recipes instead of just making the same old all the time;
  3. Sleeping through the night may not be a thing yet, but we’re getting close! A well rested Mom and Baby are a much happier pair!

There are soooooo many different directions I feel like I could take this post. I could talk about the attempted face-lift I’m giving the blog. (It’s still a work in progress – so please forgive the ever changing layouts as of late. I’ll find something I like soon, I’m sure. You’ll also notice a name change! Twenty-Something & Starving has become Mommy Runs for Food! I’ll explain that later, too!) I could discuss with you adventures in breastfeeding and un-planned bed-sharing. I could talk about my latest workout routine, PiYo, and my conversion to being a team beachbody believer. But for today, I think I will stick with the classic quick and easy recipe!

In a perfect world I would eat chocolate every single day without consequence. (The same goes for peanut butter – but I’ll save that for another day.) There may have even been a time not too long ago when I did, in fact, eat chocolate every day. Ooopsies! Now that I’m really back on board the health train, I limit my chocolate intake to a few days a week and mostly have it in the form of protein, Shakeology, and dark chocolate on occasion. So having chocolate for breakfast is kind of my jam!

Now that it’s finally not freezing outside, overnight oats are a staple breakfast for me. At night, once I put Em down to bed, I usually have some decaf tea and get my hubby’s lunch together for the following day. While my water is coming to a boil, it’s soooo easy to just throw some ingredients into a jar and have breakfast ready and waiting for me in the morning. I’ve been experimenting with a few different recipes for overnight oats – but these ones may be my new favorite. Packed with protein and tons of chocolate flavor for a sweet addict like me – waking up has never tasted so good so fast.

Toasted Almond Chocolate Overnight Oats

In a mason jar or container with a lid, mix the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oats (I used steel cut, but rolled would be great, too!)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Set in the refrigerator and breakfast is waiting for you in the morning!

Serve topped with 1/2 of a sliced banana, a few chocolate chips, and some toasted slivered almonds!


toasted almond chocolate overnight oats


WIAW #17 – The Saturday Edition!

Hey party people!!

TGIW, amiright?!

Actually, it’s Tuesday night as I write this… because I do what I want. 😀

I mentioned last week that one of these days I would share my weekend eats with you. Well, you’re in luck, today’s that day!! This right here is my Saturday. I start off pretty strong, but I go out with a bang. Haha. You shall see.

Big thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons, as per ush (pronounced “yoozsh”…ya know, like, the abbreviated revision of “usual”…how the heck are you supposed to spell that?!) for hosting this fabulouuus link-up par-tay.

On to the nommies!!

Breakfast: I love breakfast on the weekends!! I love being able to take a little bit of extra time to throw something special together, relax in my pjs, and just enjoy it. During the week, I eat breakfast at my desk at work while going through emails, so it’s really a nice to just sit and eat and do nothing else. This Saturday I threw together one of my favorite oatmeal concoctions. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear the ingredient: 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips!! I make this whipped banana style, slicing it really thin and mixing it right into the oats. I also mix in most of the peanut butter while I cook the oats, too. Then I top it off with a few reserved banana slices, some more peanut butters (because you can never have too much peanut butter) and chocolate chips. It’s decadent and amazing and I love it so, so, so much. In fact I just ate dinner (aka stuffed my face with mac & cheese because the hubby said “It’s Fat Tuesday, make something awesome” ) and now all I want to do is whip up a big pot of them. *sigh*

banana, pb, chia oatsI got up bright and early (which means about 7:30 on a weekend) on Saturday to make sure I had time to enjoy my oatmeal prior to my yoga class. I’m telling you, man, the more I yoga the more I love it and the more I know that I genuinely want to become an instructor after my baby is born. I’m absolutely in the love with the studio I’ve been going to and the instructors there are wonderful!! I took an hour and fifteen minute vinyassa to get my Saturday going and helped myself after to some Blackberry Sage tea for the road!! It’s perfection in a cup!!

tea for the roadLunch: We popped by the mall after my yoga class so I could get re-sized for a bra at Victoria’s Secret. #pregnancyproblems. Whaaaat a process. Really, the size I should be doesn’t exist. And they didn’t have what I wanted in the store. So I just got my “size” from a spectacularly helpful employee and went home and ordered everything online. C’est la vie. I was supppper hungry by the time I got home and showered. I had a leftover fajita burrito (Ya know, kinda like a burrito with no rice…plus all the stuff in fajitias. I make mine with chicken, black beans, peppers, onions, chipotles, and orange juice – among some other spices) but it was mostly beans so I was happy. I wrapped it up in a whole wheat tortilla with some melty cheese, topped it with salsa, and dug in fork and knife style. I also had some baby carrots for good measure, but I wound up sharing a few with Quincy.

fajita buttiro and carrots

Snack: My MIL and I had to snag some groceries for Sunday before the “big storm” hit. (Big storm, my fanny!! I wanted another snow day…I got like 3 inches. At least it’s almost Spring. Sigh. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.) On the way out I treated us to some coffee – decaf Hazelnut for this gal, please and thank you!! When we got home I also had what has become one of my new favorite snack obsessions – pistachios and blueberry flavored craisins (thanks a lot, Susan! lolz)!

wegmans coffeepistachios and craisins

Dinner: Saturday night the family and I attended a fundraiser dinner. It was the 7th Annual Angels for Alyssa Spaghetti Dinner. This is the 3rd year we’ve attended and we always have a great time! One of my mother-in-law’s dear friends from work is the Aunt of Miss Alyssa, a 15 year old girl who was prenatally diagnosed with a rare condition called methylmalonic acidemia (MMA). MMA prevents her body from metabolizing protein. It’s a very touching story, and we’re always more than happy to support Alyssa and her family as they work with their doctor to find a cure! Over the last 7 years they’ve raised over a half a million dollars for MMA research!! The fundraiser is quite a money maker – there is a live auction which is always exciting, a silent auction, and basket raffles!! This year Johnny and I didn’t win anything, but my MIL won a basket filled with Yankee Candles and a $50 visa gift card!! You get a TON of food, too. A big plate of spaghetti with meat sauce, bread and butter, salad, and a ridiculous array of dessert.

spaghetti dinner

Dessert: It’s always a hard time picking out dessert when there are sooooo many options. I wound up going with a plate of cookies – chocolate chip and peanut butter!! I also had a piece of chocolate peanut butter fudge, two fun sized Reese’s…and another peanut butter cookie Melinda brought me later!!


We had a great time dancing a bit, too! There’s a live band that plays throughout the night and they just play classic rock. I loooooved how the dance floor was filled with people all night! That’s the sign of a good time! It’s pretty fantastic to have such fun while supporting such a wonderful cause!! I know we’ll be back next year.

Melinda, Johnny, and I














Diiiiiidn’t I tell you that my weekend eats aren’t as spectacular as my weekday ones. Now you’ve seen proof!! If chocolate and peanut butter weren’t so perfect together I might have an easier time – but who cares really? One of my favorite philosophies of eating that I’ve seen floating around the interwebs essentially says that one bad day of eating won’t make you fat…just like one day of healthy eating won’t make you skinny!! Moderation is my motto. And sometimes, baby just wants a peanut butter cookie … or 3. 😀

Do you tend to eat more healthy or less healthy on the weekends?

What foods are your weakness that you can never say no to?? (Like how I can never say no to chocolate and peanut butter together!! )


Energy Bites and Peppermint Tea

That’s what making me happy today. 🙂

Energy bites and peppermint tea.

For those of you that know me you know that it’s exceedingly rare I ever go a day without a cup of tea…or four. But these days I do my very best to balance between the caffeinated and decaffeinated stuff.  I usually start my day with a big cup of English Breakfast tea, throw some green tea in the afternoon, and I spend my evenings drinking peppermint herbal tea. I’m telling you, even when I’m in the sourest of moods I find it pretty tough to stay angry when I take a sip of tea. Johnny even says I have a tea face…I think it looks something like this.


Heh. Get it…because it’s an owl…

Seriously though. When I drink tea I make that face.

Now – onto the energy bites!! I, personally, am a huge fan of Larabars. They’re all natural and come in so many delicious flavors (although Central PA still hasn’t gotten it’s hands on any Carrot Cake  OR Blueberry Muffin ones *sigh*). I love the company as a whole and their dedication towards using all natural/organic/fair trade certified ingredients. HOWEVER – and I may or may not have mentioned this before – I’m poor and can’t justify spending money on them. At least where I shop they’re over $1/bar. Sooooooooo I’ve finally decided to take a crack at making a homemade version of them…with QUINOA!

When I made my Buffalo Chicken Quinoa and Cheese last week, I cooked up some extra quinoa that’s just been sitting around looking for a purpose. Why not throw some extra protein into these energy bites, right?! Right! The dates sweeten everything perfectly, the almonds are filled with protein and healthy fat, the cocoa powder will give you a dose of fiber and antioxidants, and the almond extract boosts the flavor to the next level. I adore these energy bites!

You need a food processor for this recipe and they’re a cinch to whip up! This recipe made 12 squares.

Chocolate Almond Quinoa Energy Bites

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/8 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Place the dates into the food processor and pulse until they form a sticky ball. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and let it wiz until everything is combined, scraping down the sides once or twice to make sure everything gets incorporated. Spread the mixture (which will be quite sticky- wet your fingers a bit to prevent it from sticking to you) onto a small pan to form an approximately 5×7 inch  rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick (I used the pan from my toaster oven).  Place in the refrigerator  to set – for at least an hour or two. Slice into squares and munch!!

Here’s what you start with…

the lineup

and here’s the finished product!

chocolate almond quinoa energy bites

Winnning (Football AND Breakfast)


EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! Playoff game in the books! I have never in my life felt so excited about a football game as I did during today’s game.  In large part most of the pressure I felt was due to the fact that if they DIDN’T win my husband – well – I’m not sure how he would have reacted, but his sister did remove anything he could potentially throw and break from his vicinity during the second half. But also – ah – it was just great. Tony Gonzalez’s interview at the end of the game literally almost brought me to tears. I am SO effing excited – for the Falcons AND my husband. Ha.

Anyway – now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…how was YOUR weekend??? Do anything exciting?

Mine was pretty low key actually, which I can’t lie, is how I prefer things. I got to both of my Zumba classes which – literally – had me jumping for joy. It’s crazy how great shaking what my (also Zumba loving) momma gave me puts such a big smile on my face and energizes my entire weekend!

In the spirit or shaking it, last night I popped on some No Doubt radio on Pandora and shook things up again in my kitchen and I made some super tasty Spinach Lasagna Rolls inspired by Skinnytaste.

If you’ve never checked out Skinnytaste you totally should – fyi. It’s a great resource for healthy recipes that are usually pretty simple to whip up!

I love when I have enough time to cook something elaborate or, ya know, something that takes me more than 20 minutes to throw together like most weeknights! Weekends are always best for cooking, wouldn’t you agree?

Weekdays are always tricky – trying to balance time between work, the gym, and home. Weekday mornings in particular I find it almost impossible to “make” anything. Sure, I can toast up an english muffin with some pb&j or mix together some greek yogurt with fruit and nuts, but it’s a rarity to actually have time to prepare a warm and nutritious breakfast before I’m out the door. When I DO have an extra five minutes or so, though, I’ve recently found myself experimenting with mug recipes and this fantastic recipe is the result! It’s warm and nutritious and it feels like you’re having dessert for breakfast! In my experience, any morning I can start off with chocolate usually winds up okay. 🙂

According to the calculator on myfitnesspal.com this breakfast cookie will only set you back 218 calories, which is perfectly acceptable for your first meal of the day! It’ll also fill you up with 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein!

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie

serves 1

  • 1 small, super ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons quick cooking oats
  • 1 splenda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 walnuts, chopped (I just crush them up in my hands for this recipe…saves time and cleaning a knife)
  • 2 teaspoons chocolate chips

In a microwave safe mug or bowl, mash up the banana with the milk and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well until everything is combined, making sure to scrape the sides well as you go. Microwave for 4 to 5 minutes until set. Let stand for one minute to cool. Remove from mug or bowl and enjoy!! (You could enjoy it in the mug, too, if you’re not running out the door!)

Microwave Banana Oat Breakfast Cokie

I Have A Problem

Hello. My name is Jennifer, and I am an addict.

I can admit it now. It’s taken years for me to accept it.

By themselves, chocolate and peanut butter are nice. Put them together, though, and I can never seem to stop myself.

To make matters worse, (or better, depending on how you think about it ) I found this:

image courtesy of ilovepeanutbutter.com

Dark. Chocolate.Dreams. I know many of my fellow bloggers are familiar with Peanut Butter & Co. The nut butter obsession of the blogosphere is something I, personally, have been familiar with my whole life.

For about the first 12 or so years of my life, I probably had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every single day.

Creamy peanut butter, grape jelly, white bread.

By senior year of high school, I was in the beginning stages of my health nut phase when a dear friend FINALLY made me try crunchy peanut butter. My whole world began to change!! My next obsession?

Crunchy peanut butter, strawberry jam, whole wheat bread.

It was at this point in my life when I realized, not only is peanut butter insanely delicious, but if you can see past the high calorie content it’s really quite good for you!

I know, I know. Most of you are probably shaking your heads. “She’s as nutty as the peanut butter!” But hear me out.

If you can find a natural peanut butter with minimal amounts of added sugar and no hydrogenated oils, the average two tablespoon serving of peanut butter is generally under 200 calories, has between 6 and 8 grams of protein and, depending on the variety, almost 4 grams of fiber. Compare that to some of your other favorite snacks and see how it adds up. You may be surprised!!

I have finally found a balance in my life, I think, of the 12-year-old-junk-food-loving-Jen and the-crazy-health-nut-Jen of more recent years. What I am about to share with you is something 12-year-old me would have gone BANANAS for. Heh.

Brace yourselves.

Dark Chocolate Dreams
Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate dreams peanut butter*
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter *
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

*Note: You may use a whole cup of dark chocolate dreams if you wish, but I didn’t want to part with that much. These cookies were just chocolaty enough and plenty peanut buttery. This recipe will work fine with a whole cup of regular peanut butter too!*

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. The dough will be very moist and sticky. Drop by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. (You may want to flatten them out a bit, just wet your fingers and press gently on the tops of each cookie.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 18 minutes or until fragrant and crackly on top. Let cool on the baking sheet for about two minutes before transferring to a baking rack and cooling completely.

Or you can eat them hot out of the oven with an icy glass of milk if you like. That’s the route I took. I do not regret the burn on my tongue. Not one bit.