Cranberry Peppermint Bark Oatmeal

I love the determination that accompanies a new year. The resolutions that pile one on top of another as people determine exactly who they want to be when the new year comes crashing by. 2015 is no exception, and I have witnessed people left and right pinpoint the reinventions that will lead them into a new year, a new change, a new them.

Perhaps even more exciting than the prospect of potential changes is the achievement of those goals as the year passes by. Not all dreams will be realized, I am realistic in that sense. I know that many people will make goals that will sit unfulfilled in a sad little wish tucked away in a drawer. But those few that rise above the failures prove to me that anything is possible. “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars” -Anonymous

I have a few goals for myself this year- goals that make me nervous, anxious, maybe a little fearful. Goals that make me excited and ready to change. I am ambitious and I am proud of that fact. I have always been rather fond of sticking to my hopes and aspirations, and 2015 shall be no exception.

But let us venture back into the realm of the present. Today I perfected a recipe that had been in the works for a while now. It must be a sign, for such perfection to happen on the last day of 2014. After I took the first bite I knew that this was recipe that had to be shared. It includes some winter essentials, pomegranate and cranberry bits that add delectable bursts of flavor. The baking of the oatmeal adds an effect of a celebration. And the ever-present shredded zucchini adds some nutrition without stealing any decadence.

This was definitely a good breakfast to end 2014. As sad as it is to acknowledge that this year is coming to a close, for it has most definitely been a fantastic one, I am extremely excited to reach toward a new year, a new change, and a new me.

Cranberry Peppermint Bark Oatmeal with Pomegranate Arils

Ingredients
1/2 cup rolled oatmeal
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 egg white
1 tbs coconut flour
4 squares chopped dark chocolate, or a handful of chocolate chips
Handful of nut of choice (I used pistachio)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375F
2) Cook the shredded zucchini in the microwave with a splash of water for two minutes and thirty seconds.
3) Remove from the microwave and add all of the wet ingredients. Stir well, and then add all of the dry ingredients.
4) Grease a oven safe ramekin or bowl, and pour the batter inside. It should be thick but not dry or clumpy.
5) Bake for 25-30 minutes, until desired consistency is reached.
6) Remove from the oven, and top with pomegranate seeds, more chocolate, a dash of cocoa powder, or even some crushed peppermint if that is what you choose. Devour!!

Adorned with extra pomegranate seeds, this oatmeal bowl quickly stole my heart!

Adorned with extra pomegranate seeds, this oatmeal bowl quickly stole my heart!

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New Running Shoes + Post Run Fuel

I guess I am claiming my woman card here and saying it- I love my new shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my old shoes, but they needed to be upgraded desperately. The past 500 miles had been rough on them, and they were giving my IT Band some major troubles. So, my parents gifted me with a beautiful new pair for Christmas (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

I loved my old new balance sneakers, but the treads on the bottom edges of both feet were completely worn away- and the foam sole was fading fast. I haven't thrown them away yet though, old shoes die hard!

I loved my old new balance sneakers, but the treads on the bottom edges of both feet were completely worn away- and the foam sole was fading fast. I haven’t thrown them away yet though, old shoes die hard!

Today I had a nice run in my new ASICS, and breezed through my favorite route, dropping thirty seconds from my average pace. Morale of the story: Buy new shoes if yours are falling apart, a runner needs her shoes!

After the quick seven miler, I fueled up with a cute product I found at Meijer last week. Called “Coco Wheats”, this product was easy to make, delicious, and customizable. Basically, the box contains ground wheat and cocoa that you cook in the microwave for an instant bowl of warm porridge. The texture is similar to oatmeal, but more chewy. It cooks faster than roller oats, so in a hurry, it is extremely practical!

Look how cute this box is!

Look how cute this box is!

And look at these ingredients! Yes, I do acknowledge that some artificial flavoring is used, but this is DEFINITELY a much cleaner product that instant oatmeal, which con taints a slew of nasty chemicals and sweeteners on a list a mile long.

And look at these ingredients! Yes, I do acknowledge that some artificial flavoring is used, but this is DEFINITELY a much cleaner product that instant oatmeal, which containts a slew of nasty chemicals and sweeteners on a list a mile long.

After my run, I was chilly and in need of a warm filling bowl for my tummy. I cooked three tablespoons of the Coco Wheat with a cup of almond milk for about 3.5 minutes, stopping to stir every 20 seconds or so. I then stirred in 1/3 a cup of egg whites (make sure you stir thoroughly and fast, to avoid egg chunks, YUCK!), a handful of raspberries, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and some more almond milk. After thirty more seconds in the microwave, another good stir, and a few extra raspberries, the Coco Wheats were ready to eat!

This was delicious!

This was delicious!

You could make something similar with quick oats, oat bran, plain wheat bran, coconut flour, the options are endless! You would just have to add some cocoa powder!

What are some of your favorite post-workout munchies?

New Blog + Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

Hello! Thanks for taking a look at my blog!

I am Abby, an avid runner with a passion for nutrition and healthy cooking. And peanut butter:) I decided it was time to create a blog to share some of my adventures on the trail and in the kitchen, considering I already follow (more like stalk) a couple of healthy living blogs, and have entertained the idea for about six months. I am really excited to begin sharing my journey with you, starting with this recipe for Zucchini Bread I whipped up yesterday!

Ahhh zucchini. I can never seem to spell it correctly. But I throw the delectable vegetable in nearly everything I eat. Oatmeal, soups, veggie pastas, cakes, muffins, breads. Nothing is safe from some shredded zucchini. The best part is that I can seldom taste it, and even if I do, it tastes pretty delicious. If you don’t like to shred it, consider blending it and using it like you would applesauce or mashed banana; as a fantastic oil replacement. It is surprisingly moist and is a great replacement. Admittedly, it isn’t as good as some applesauce or banana, but hey, it works!

Back to the bread. This stuff is addicting. I made five mini-loaves yesterday afternoon and have eaten four. Filling, moist, dense, and packed full of vegetables! It even has some protein! One mini-loaf has ten grams of protein, and it would be more if you choose to add some protein powder!

In my recipe, I choose to make the bread extremely dense. If you would like a fluffier bread, reduce to applesauce to one cup, and increase the whole wheat four to one and a half cups. Whip the eggs until they are slightly fluffy before you add them to the batter, and add a bit more milk if it feels too dry. Also, I usually add some raisons or walnuts to my bread.

This recipe is fantastic to use as a base, so feel free to add, remove, or tweak any of the directions or ingredients below!

Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

2-3 cups shredded zucchini, depending on your tastes
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour*
1 cup oat flour* (read directions if you have none!)
1 cup stevia, coconut sugar, or sugar of choice*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda*
1 tsp baking powder*
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon*
1/2 tsp nutmeg*
1/2 tsp salt*
Pinch of Cream of Tartar and Nutmeg*

Directions:

If you have no oat flour, blend a cup of raw rolled or quick oats to make some easily. Then, mix all of the dry ingredients (marked with an asterisk) in a large mixing bowl. Next, blend all wet ingredients until fluffy, excluding the zucchini. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and then mix in the shredded zucchini. Pour the batter into some greased mini-loaf tins. Alternately, you could use regular loaf pans. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes, or longer if you use a regular loaf pan. Check the loaves before you remove them from the oven, a toothpick inserted in the loaves should come out clean.

Make sure you taste the batter before you pop it into the oven! Feel free to add walnuts, raisons, or coconut oil for added yummy points!

Zucchini Oatmeal Bread in its most glorious form- with cranberry sauce (from Trader Joes) and yogurt on the side. Served up with some fresh raspberries and apple slices. An absolutely perfect snack!!

Zucchini Oatmeal Bread in its most glorious form- with cranberry sauce (from Trader Joes) and yogurt on the side. Served up with some fresh raspberries and apple slices. An absolutely perfect snack!!