Soaking up the Summer! Roadtrips, Snack Food, and Insecurities!

Ok, so I know over and over again I have apologized at length about neglecting this bad boy.  Well, I’m done apologizing.  I realize I’ve taken quite the break from posting on here, but I’ve been very UNapologetically enjoying my summer and living life to the fullest!  I’m taking advantage of the precious few days/weeks that I have left before I go back to school and there’s nothing to feel sorry about in that!  If that irks you, meh, get over it!

As I sit here typing, I am waiting anxiously for morning to come so that I can embark on my roadtrip to Texas!  Some may think that it’s absolutely ludicrous to spend multiple hours in the car alone….I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT!  Sometimes it’s all dark and stormy for me to be alone in my own head on the open road, but I am in desperate need of this time to sort some stuff out!  Admittedly, I am really pretty apprehensive about being out of my own kitchen and my gym for almost two weeks.  But what the hell.  Life is about embracing the fear and giving it hell, right?  That’s what I’m telling myself at least!  Plus, I prepped some snacks for the road and packed ALL of my workout clothes as well as my jump rope and a kettle bell.  So really, I see that as preparing myself for success!

Before I get to food, I just need to say that my 10 year high school reunion was last weekend.  It was about as good as I expected it would be.  The hardest part of it for me was that I was THAT girl.  You know, the one that a ton of people had to second guess as to who it was.  I posted this picture on facebook on the morning of my reunion:

10 year change

The left side was taken on the morning of my high school graduation in May 2003 and the pic on the right was taken the morning of my 10 year reunion (July 2013).  It kind of set me back a bit looking at the comparison.  First, I guess I hadn’t realized I was that big by the end of high school, and secondly, I realized that I actually got quite a bit bigger before I started losing weight.  Anyway, this comparison photo was shared among several people and I got a ton of really positive comments on it.  Many of them somehow involving the word “inspiration”.  I have to admit that that particular word makes me really awkward.  I want my various passions to inspire people.  I want to inspire my students and those around me to continue their own education on whatever topics fascinate them.  I want my actions, purpose, and interactions with others to inspire those around to treat people better.  Yeah, I lost weight….a LOT of it.  And yes, I have done a complete 180 with my life, my choices, my social circles, my desires, and my needs.  To say that I’m humbled by people calling me an inspiration would be inadequate.  I don’t know, I’m probably just insecure.

Ok enough head case ranting.  I made some BOMB Banana Bread Granola for my trip tomorrow! Not gonna lie, the cooking time is gonna be a bit sketchy because my power went out towards the end of baking….so you might have to play around with the timing.  But the flavor is OUT OF CONTROL!! I swear, it tastes just like banana bread.

banana bread granola

Banana Bread Granola

  • 1.5 cups mixed nuts of choice, roughly chopped (I used pecans and cashews…it’s what I had on hand!)
  • 10-12 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 smallish very ripe bananas (I’m talking brown and spotty on the peel….that means they are SUPER sweet!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat up your oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork until they are almost pureed smooth.
  3. Add in your melted coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and salt. Mix well to combine.
  4. Stir in your nuts, coconut, and dates….making sure you coat all dry ingredients well.  The dates will probably clump up together, just try to break them up as much as possible.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out your granola mixture onto the baking sheet.  Make sure it is in an even layer, and spread pretty thinly., no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Bake for 40 ish minutes, stirring the mixture halfway through.  You want to bake until the granola starts to brown a bit and has dried out some.
  7. Remove from the oven and LET IT COOL!!  It is the cooling that makes it all “crispy” and granola like!  Due to the “wet” nature of this mix, it may never crisp up completely.  But I found that I really kind of like the chewy texture of mine!
  8. Once it has cooled completely, I stored mine in an airtight container in the fridge.

Such a sweet and delicious paleo treat!  Can’t wait to smash on this in the car!!!  With that, realize it may be a bit until I post another full out entry, BUT be sure to follow me on FaceBook and I will be sure to post tasty food pics of what I’m smashing on during my travels! And while you’re at it, check yourself….be an inspiration for someone.  Do it! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

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Orange Pecan Cookies

orange pecan cookies

Apparently, I shouldn’t go on vacation.  Ever since I got back from Austin, I have been getting gradually sicker and sicker.  It sucks, pretty hardcore.  I finally caved and am taking the day off tomorrow, mostly to sleep…because I haven’t been doing any of that lately.

In other news, because of said sickness, I have watched several random movies this evening.  I NEVER just sit on my couch and watch movies, like ever.  I get all sorts of antsy, so I’m usually reading or working on some sort of project.  So naturally, I started baking these cookies tonight while watching movies.  I figured, hell, I pay for all of these channels, might as well watch some!  So far tonight, I’ve watched “Friends with Benefits” “Apollo 13” and now I’m watching “The Other Boleyn Girl”.  This movie is nuts!  Henry VIII was NUTS! But Eric Bana is pretty to look at….so this movie is watchable.

On a slightly sadder note, I think I’m gonna hang up my baking mitts for a while.  Starting Monday, I’m beginning what I’m dubbing the “Cancun Challenge”.  I’m 99% sure I’m going to Cancun in July and I want to look as amazing as possible in the swimsuit I just bought.  Therefore, starting Monday, I’ll be officially doing another Whole30…..which will actually be more like a Whole90.  No more paleo treats for me…..but have no fear, I’ll continue to bring you deliciousness.  It just means I’m going to have to rely heavily on taste testers!

Without further ado, here are these tasty little devils!

Orange Pecan Cookies with Orange Coconut Butter Drizzle

For the Cookies (makes about 5 dozen):

  • 5 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • zest and juice (about 1/2 cup) from 2 oranges
  • 2 cups chopped pecans (I used dry roasted, unsalted ones)
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  Mix in your pecans with the dry mix!
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix together all of your wet ingredients, including the orange juice and the zest from both oranges. (Seriously, invest in a microplane or a zester, the are AWESOME!!)
  3. Mix your wet ingredients into your dry, combining thoroughly.
  4. At this point, I usually refrigerate the cookie dough for at least an hour.  This makes it WAY easier to roll later.
  5. When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Roll your dough into walnut sized balls (about 1″) and slightly flatten them.
  7. Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. I let mine go for just under 10 minutes and the were perfection!
  8. LET THEM COOL!!!  For real, let them cool for at least 30 minutes before you even think about putting the drizzle on them.  If you don’t want to top with the drizzle, feel free to smash on these bad boys as soon as they are cooled!

For the Orange Coconut Butter drizzle:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • pinch of salt
  • small splash of vanilla (1/8 teaspoon for you measuring types)
  1. Put all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Microwave for about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir all together.
  4. Use a spoon to drizzle the mixture over the cookies all fancy like!  Or if you are feeling really fancy, you can make your own “pastry bag” out of a ziploc bag.  Load your drizzle goo into a baggie, seal it, and snip a small amount of the corner off.  Drizzle that deliciousness all over your cookies.
  5. STUFF your face!!

These are simply delightful!  I hope you enjoy them.  I’m trying my best to NOT eat all of them….please send strong willed thoughts my way as I embark on the Cancun Challenge!!  It’s gonna be really tough, especially because I also won’t be drinking….like at all.  Crazy.  I know.  Last time I did that I lost a whole bunch of my friends over it. Meh, oh well!  Sending delicious paleo treat love your way! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister