Category Archives: Cookies and Bars

Cherry Coconut Chocolate Chunk Blondies!

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I meant to post these last week but I made them right before my family came to town for Labor Day weekend and of course once the weekend hit things were so fun and busy, and it doesn’t seem like that has stopped since. But alas, I give you the recipe for what I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

I had picked up a nice big bag of cherries at Whole Foods and found that they were starting to get a little sad and some were getting a little mushy before I could get through eating them all (I have learned my lesson on overindulging on cherries…stomachaches ensue when you forget…) so I took out the pits (these cherries were SO dark that my hands and countertop were a fun mess after that) and chopped them up to get ready to put in these blondies! I also had a dark chocolate bar that I’d received in my Conscious Box delivery a couple weeks prior — I had decided after trying a little piece of it that it would be best saved for baking because it wasn’t quite sweet enough to enjoy on it’s own (and I like really dark chocolate, so that’s saying something). But it was PERFECT for these blondies. And they’re a ONE BOWL recipe, so you won’t have a ton of dishes to do after. Amen.

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Cherry Coconut Chocolate Chunk Blondies
(I used the recipe from this great blog with just a couple modifications — mainly adding coconut!)
Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour (I love how hearty whole wheat flour can make a baked good, and how it can stand up to a lot of flavorful ingredients — feel free to use regular AP flour or even a half-and-half blend of the two)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup cherries, pits removed and chop as desired (I probably used about 15 cherries)
1/3 cup chocolate chunks (or chips!)
1/3 cup shredded coconut

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. Stir brown sugar into the melted butter in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine.
3. Stir in the flour and salt until just incorporated and then carefully fold in the cherries, coconut, and chocolate chunks.
4. Spread batter into the pan and bake! Mine baked for about 35 minutes but you’ll want to watch the time closely after about 25 minutes because they’ll bake different depending on how moist the cherries are. You’ll want the top to be a nice golden brown on the top and edges. Let these sit (ha! yeah right) for an hour (no, but really, I did try to have a bite after about 15 minutes and they were delicious but really messy, so if you want to actually cut your blondies instead of scoop them, wait the hour). Keep these in an airtight container. They’ll be find at room temp for several days, but after that I’d keep them refrigerated.

Enjoy!!

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Easy energy balls

The monthly happy hour at my gym again means another healthy snack recipe!

Ready for some super simple energy balls?

Energy Balls
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
1 cup oats (I used quick oats because they’re what I had on hand, but old-fashioned work too)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
3/4 cup add-ins: I used 1/4 each of sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and mini chocolate chips (but shredded coconut, carob chips, other seeds or nuts, etc will all work!)

Directions:
Put honey and peanut butter in a large microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 10-15 seconds, stir to combine. Then dump in everything else and mix! Form into small balls, layer into an airtight container with wax paper separating layers, and refrigerate 4 hours. Makes 20-30 depending on size.

Enjoy!

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Some of my favorite things from July

On this last day of July I want to share some of my favorite things from this past month!!

The DC fireworks for the 4th are always amazing. But the DC area offers something 1 week later every year, and I think most people would agree that it’s even more enjoyable — the Alexandria Birthday Celebration! It always happens the weekend after the 4th, and with easier parking, a comfy lawn, manageable crowds, free cupcakes, and an up close and personal view while listening to the live music by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra…well you almost just can’t even compare the 2. So I got to spend the evening in the company of some great friends. And made Key Lime White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cake Mix bars (what a title!).

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Cherries. Seriously. So good. Picked these up at a farmer’s market and ate them all in a couple days.

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Some people eat a lot of burgers off the grill in the summer, or maybe BBQ chicken…me? I’m eating loads of prosciutto. ๐Ÿ™‚ this grilled cheese was such a winner. Yum yum yum. Egg, prosciutto and a little Gouda.

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(And more prosciutto)

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The new fall 2014 collection from Stella & Dot — more on that to come!

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Seeing corporate office spaces I’ve designed be almost near completion! Love putting things on paper and seeing them come to life.

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Mango sparkling wine!!

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Conscious Boxes!! Seriously, this is like the best of all worlds for delivery boxes. There are some snacks, some beauty care, some nutrition, recipes, the best chocolate bars ever, and it’s all great for your body. I’m so glad I tried it out on a Living Social deal. I have 1 box left in my subscription and will be sad to see it be over!

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Getting a trip home to FL to spend time with my family! More on that soon too ๐Ÿ™‚

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That’s just a little snippet of some fun things from July!

4th of July 2014

Such a great long weekend! I feel like it was over way too fast and I meant to catch up on more recipes and activities but now it’s almost bedtime and then back to work tomorrow, so I’ll try to fit a few in!

Almond Butter Crispy Squares!

I made these for my gym’s monthly happy hour last week to go at my Stella & Dot table and they were a big hit! Yay! A totally random and last minute decision.

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Super simple too!

Ingredients
6 cups crispy rice cereal
3/4 cup almond butter
3/4 cup honey
Cooking spray
Optional add ins:
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup seeds/crushed nuts (I used pepitas/pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup dried fruit pieces (I used cranberries)
Or anything else you want!

Directions
1. Put almond butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second intervals until melted and easily combined. Stir well.
2. Add crispy rice cereal and stir until thoroughly combined. Add mix-ins and stir to incorporate.
3. Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray, put mixture into pan and press firmly and evenly into the pan so that it’s tightly packed. Chill in refrigerator for at least 45 minutes. Cut and serve!

And now here are some pics from my 4th of July weekend for your enjoyment!

4th of July style!

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If these haven’t happened in your life yet, you’re missing out!!

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And an awesome night was had at the PBS Capitol 4th Concert! Up close for Phillip Phillips and so much more!

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Great reads: Love Skip Jump by Shelene Bryan

This book review opportunity has been blessing me beyond words. (Haha, just realized that was a little bit of a book pun…ha!) but for real you guys, this book and the one I finished up a couple weeks ago have knocked me off my feet and shaken me in big ways. God is finding all these ways to bore into the space in my heart that keeps growing immeasurably larger that is calling me to action, to a desire to get in deep with those in need however He sees fit to lead me. It is this energy and excitement I can’t even explain. I just know that He is putting a very intentional stone ahead of my each step and I can’t wait to keep seeing where it’s taking me. The author of the book put it well when she said “God cares about the journey more than the end result”.

Okay so onto the book! Full disclosure, I read this from start to finish today as God blessed me with a beautiful and quiet summer Sunday afternoon to sit outside and soak in these heart-filled words while really being able to focus and hear Him in the spaces. I also should admit to eating about 12 peanut butter cup Oreos that I bought this morning at Target. Such a good day ๐Ÿ™‚

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Love Skip Jump, written by Shelene Bryan is a journey through Shelene’s many adventures that led her to finally step out of her comfortable Christian life and really listen to what God was asking of her. When she started saying yes to the little and the big things, she found God working through her to cause ripples that are truly inspiring. I absolutely loved her honest and candid recounts of her journey and laughed and cried right along with each one. I read the book cover to cover in an afternoon and was right online checking out the website of her charity organization skip1.org (which encourages people to skip some convenience or pleasure, big or small, in their life and donate that money to help fund any number of great works) to try and see how I can jump into action with these folks. This book is one that I will be passing around to my friends to read and will have a lifelong spot on my bookshelf as I look back to her stories and challenges for encouragement and conviction. As Shelene writes “God doesn’t want us to do anything without joy. When it comes to serving God with our gifts, it’s not a ‘have to’, it’s a ‘get to’. We get to say yes and change everything.” Big or small, this book will change you and everyone who reads it for the better.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissionโ€™s 16 CFR, Part 255 : โ€œGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.โ€

Up, up, and away: a baby shower!

A sweet friend of mine gave me the honor of making the cupcakes and cookie favors for her sister-in-law’s baby shower! I loved her idea of a hot air balloon theme! So cute! Congrats on the new little baby-boy-to-be in their family!

Here are some pics of the finished treats!

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