Sunday, March 20, 2016

Really Good Weekend Muffins

 There's something about Sunday afternoons and baking. They seem to go together really well. And especially so this spring, as it's been rainy most Sunday afternoons. I like it.

Whenever I think of breakfast muffins I think of my friend Charlotte. She made glorious breakfast muffins AND had a knack for unique flavor combinations. These muffins are a tribute to you Charlotte! 


The unique flavors in these muffins come from the mix of flours (spelt & almond), turmeric, cardamom, cacao nibs, and blueberries. That's a lot of different flavor and texture combinations. But trust me, it works. Feel free to exclude any of the spices or nuts & seeds, the base muffin recipe will still turn out. 


1/2 c spelt flour
1/2 c almond meal
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 c milk 
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 T chia seeds (or 1 egg)
1 T flax seeds, ground
3 T water or more milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp sea salt
2/3 c frozen blueberries
1/4 c hemp hearts (or other seeds)
1/4 c cacao nibs (optional)


Preheat oven to 350. In a vitamix or blender, process walnuts until they are a fine texture (just a few seconds). In a large bowl, combine ground walnuts, spelt flour, almond meal, baking soda, spices (cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom), and sat. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, mash the banana and add milk, and lemon juice. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Stir in sugar, ground flax seeds, ground chia seeds, and water. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and combine. Stir in hemp hearts and cacao nibs (or other nuts/seeds) and gently fold in frozen blueberries. Scoop into a lined or well greased muffin tin and bake at 350 for 20 min. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

3.14 Happy Pi Day!

I had to make a pie for Pi day. I'm just that cool.


I've made a few pies in the past, mostly on thanksgiving. I have a recipe I LOVE for pumpkin pie that uses spelt flour for the crust. I don't actually love the flaky texture of traditional pie crusts, rather I prefer a more dense version. The spelt flout crust is just that- nutty, dense, and a little crunchy.

To make the crust for this pie, I decided to use the spelt recipe as a starting point and then add some flair. I had some leftover almond meal in the freezer and decided that would be fun to try. And intimidating....almond meal pie crust? Challenge accepted!

 The problem was, the almond meal I had was pretty grainy. I was leftover from almond milk that I made awhile ago and was not not very fine.

 I've tried to make macaroons using the almond meal as is, and it didn't work. Too chunky. Gross. But, I had a solution for that! Last year in Bali, Zach and I bought a stone mortar and pestle from the market in Ubud. I distinctly remember the day, it was hot as balls and we were both just getting over the dreaded Bali belly that everyone seems to get from the food (I swear, we were really careful!). Anyway, it was hot and our stomachs were still a little off and there were all sorts of can imagine. I wasn't really into the whole bartering thing to get a good price on our mortar and pestle. I just wanted to get out of there. I digress.

We ended up coming home with the mortar and pestle, which is super duper heavy! Hindsight we should have bought it at the end of our trip, not in the beginning. Poor Zach had to carry it in his bag for 2 weeks. And coming through customs in the US.....haha. The journey it took to get this thing home. ANYWAY.

I love using the things we have, and this was a great excuse to use the mortar and pestle to make the almond meal fine.

So satisfying. I love using my kitchen gadgets!

Since almond meal alone is not a great base for dough, I combined it with the spelt flour. I started with 1/2 of each flour and it turned out pretty well! I was expecting a lot more trial and error in making the correct texture, but it turned out well the first time. I'll take it!

For additional nutty flavor, I also added flax seeds. My favorite to use are Flora's Golden Flax Seeds. I like to grind them myself because they have way more nutritional value that way. These little guys are chock full of omega 3 fatty acids! And, pie crust always benefits from additional fat.

For the filling we didn't have much around the house, so I just did a simple pear filling. Really any fruit would work in place of the pears. If I had my choice I think I would have done a strawberry rhubarb, although not really in season right now.... I'll wait on that combo until summer.

 To make crust, I mixed the flours, cinnamon, salt, and ground flax seeds together in a large bowl. I then melted the coconut oil over low heat and added it to the flours along with the maple syrup and milk.

To make the crust, I started by rolling out on a floured surface, but found the crust was sticking. Learning from past mistakes (aka. totally mashing pie crust into the counter top), I immediately stopped and put parchment paper down. It worked like a charm and was so easy to transfer to the baking pan. I'd highly recommend that technique.

Carefully place the dough inside a pie baking pan and allow the edges to fold over.

Trim the edges and use your fingers to pinch the top of the pie to create a thicker, neat looking crust. Or whatever, it doesn't really matter what it looks like.

Once the crust is assembled in the pan, poke 10-12 times with a fork and bake at 425 for 6-7 minutes.

Now comes the fun. Take the leftover dough and roll it out. Create the shapes to put on top of the pie. This is my favorite part! I'm such a nerd.

 Once the crust is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. During this time, cut up the fruit and arrange inside the crust. Top with applesauce and drizzle (generously) with maple syrup.

Arrange the cutouts on top of the fruit and smile like you are 5 years old and this is the coolest thing you've ever done!

Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes, then remove from oven and cover the crust with foil to prevent it from browning too much. Return to the oven for another 10-15 mint. To be fully honest I forgot to do this step and it still turned out just fine.  A little brown, but nothing to worry about.

The pie came out looking wonderful and not overly sweet. I don't like them too sweet, so this was perfect for me. But, if you are looking for a more sweetened version, I'd add some extra maple syrup to the filling and maybe a little butter or additional coconut oil on top before baking. That would make the filling turn out a little more traditional.

It is delicious though, as is! Especially paired with ice cream or whipped cream.

Happy Pi day!

Pear & Almond-Spelt Crust Pie

  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c spelt flour
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 T ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 c milk of choice

  • 3 pears
  • 1/3 c applesauce
  • 3-4 T maple syrup

  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Mix crust ingredients together until well combined. The dough should be fairly dry, but not crumbly.
  • Carefully roll out the dough on a floured surface (or parchment paper) until it’s 1/4” thick.
  • Carefully transfer the pie crust to a pie dish, letting the edges fold over.
  • Trim the excess crust and pinch the edges to make a neat looking crust.
  • Poke the dough with a few fork pricks and bake for 6-7 minutes.
  • While the crust is baking, cut up the fruit and set aside.
  • Roll out the excess dough into desired shapes and set aside.
  • Once the crust is done, remove from oven and let cool for couple minutes.
  • To assemble, arrange the fruit inside the pie crust and top with applesauce. Use a spoon to spread it around.
  • Drizzle the maple syrup on top of the fruit and arrange shapes on top.
  • Reduce oven heat to 350 and bake for about 30-40 minutes. 
  • Cover the edges with foil and bake for another (10-15 min). *I forgot to do this and mine still turned out ok, the crust got a little brown, but still tastes fine.
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Extra dough? Make a mini pie!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Rainy days + dreams of chocolate & peanut butter

I have learned to love rainy days. I used to dread the sound of rain on the roof when I woke up. That meant I was going to have to run in the rain :/ I have some PTSD from my time spent living in the valley (Corvallis & Eugene). I remember waking up (most days) to the sound of rain. That meant I was gong to start my day wet. And I was going to be damp and cold the rest of the day. I'm making it sound worse than it was, but when you're used to the sunny desert, it was quite the adjustment.

Anyway, know I don't mind the occasional rainy day. The don't happen very often and now I almost look forward to them. Almost. Only because they feel like a novelty. I much prefer sunshine, and the warmer the better!

Also, since I'm not running it's easier to enjoy the grey. I sort of like the grey, it matches my mood. Not that I'm sad, but I feel mellow and little subdued. It keeps me feeling grounded and in a way connected to the life cycle of the earth.

Deep thoughts. And you thought this was just a recipe! It is, keep reading.

Today was a pretty good day. It's been quiet and home. Just Riley and me. And he doesn't talk much :) I started my day off with a yoga class at one of my favorite studios, followed by a coffee date with myself at my favorite coffee shop (Backporch), some quality time with my pup, and now enjoying a new recipe using two of my favorites: chocolate and peanut butter.

I do miss the freedom of moving effortlessly over the trail, but for now I'm settling into this slower paced life. And it's ok. Especially when chocolate and peanut butter are part of my day!

To make this chocolate peanut butter cup dessert, I basically just blended chocolate and nut butter. It didn't need a whole lot else.

Chocolate +

Nut Butter

= So much yes

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Dessert


  • 2 c cashews, soaked
  • 6-8 dates, pitted
  • 1/2 c cacao powder
  • 1/2-2/3 c nut milk (depending on consistency)
  • 1 banana 
  • pinch of sea salt
  • vanilla extract
  • 3 T peanut butter


  • peanut butter,
  • Chocolate or carob chips
  • cacao nibs
  • walnuts or hemp seeds

Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a small container and sprinkle (generously) with walnuts, chocolate chips, and cacao nibs. Drizzle with peanut butter and refrigerate for a couple hours. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Recovery Part IV: Focus

Focus on the process.

In art as it is in life: focus on the process....
I often catch myself thinking about the future. Dreaming of running in the mountains or toeing the line at races this summer. And although it’s ok to think about the big picture, I also need to focus on the now. The process. Because getting too far ahead of myself can create an allusion of somewhere I am not.

.....And the outcome will appear. 
I recently listened to a podcast from Running On Om hosted by Julia Hanlon, with guest Lauren Fleshman. In this particular episode, they were discussing dreams and goals. At one point they were talking about what it means to engage in the process, rather than the outcome. This really resonated with me and got me thinking about my own situation. All my forward thinking about the future really pulls me away from where I am right now. The present. How can I bring awareness to exactly where I am at this very minute? How can I live in my now? These thoughts grounded me, in a good way. In a way I needed. Instead of thinking I can’t wait for…… , I put my energy into living right now. Because let’s face it- that’s where I am! Getting too far ahead of myself only brings about wishing for something I don't have. And that’s not productive.


Focus has also been a theme for me in another way. As in, the people helping me get through this recovery. Focus Physical Therapy.

Over the past year I’ve worked closely with physical therapsits Burke Selbst and Peter Schrey, at Focus. They’ve both been instrumental in helping me troubleshoot past injuries and work through the normal wear and tear that comes with running so much. In the past couple months they have been my rock. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs post-surgery; and through every imaginable emotion, they have been there to support me, both physically and emotionally. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve broken down into tears of frustration or sent a panicked email to Burke and Peter. They’ve gone above and beyond the normal role of a physical therapist. Because of our relationship and the effort they’ve been willing to put in, I feel like I’m on track.

 To compliment my recovery plan from Dr. Alfredson, I’ve been working with Peter and Burke on a weekly basis to improve my mobility, strength, range of motion, etc. in my left foot. Each week we’ve worked on progressing and pushing my foot a little further. It’s a slow process, but SO important so that when I do return to running, I don’t compensate due to strength imbalances.

Burke sawing off my foot. Kidding!
Scar work to get the skin gliding better.

It’s incredible how much effort it takes to re-wire the nervous system. I’m now focusing on learning how to walk correctly and engage my calf as I roll off my toe. It’s not easy! If you see you walking around town with an intense focused look on my face, that’s why!

Re-learning how to walk, beach style!
The beach is an excellent place to practice.
Next week marks the end of my 12-weeks recovery. In theory, I could start to think about running at that time. And by running I mean like 1 min on, 1 min off x 5. Easing back in very slowly. However, I’m not sure I’m ready yet. I have no desire to jump back in too soon, despite what my mind wants. I want to do this correctly, so that might mean waiting a couple more weeks. I AM planning to at least test the waters, under the guidance of Peter and Burke (so I don’t open the flood gates), possibly on the Alter-G next week. Fingers crossed!

Other things I've been focusing on recently:

 Walks with my dog

Beach time with my mom

 My favorite places in Bend, OR

 More time with my dog

 Getting lost in Powell's 

 Whiskey at The Library 

 80's Night

 Homemade Ramen

 Talking Nutrition with the 8th Grader's at 7 Peaks School

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies

I have to confess, the reason I decided to bake cookies is because I was eating spoonful after spoonful of nut butter with chocolate chips on top. Save me from myself!

So, instead of just eating the nut butter + chocolate chips by the spoonful I thought baking them as cookies would make it more acceptable. Plus, baking is a great excuse to eat the ingredients (cashew butter + chocolate chips) by the spoonful. Sigh. Some days this just happens.

Cashew Butter.

This stuff is crack. I've been making it homemade now for the last several weeks and it doesn't last long. It's so easy to make and soooo much better homemade. Try making your own:

  • Roast 1-2 c cashews at 325 for a 5-10 min until fragrant. 
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes, then process in a blender. 

A vitamix works best, but you can use any blender. Just have patience and give it breaks. I blew out a blender a couple years ago making homemade nutella- I just kept pushing without letting the blender have a moment. Lesson learned.

In any event, since I was trying out a new recipe I decided to test several options/additions to find the best one. I tried four different combos of flavors: 1) simple cashew butter, 2) lucuma + maple + hemp, 3) hemp seed + maca, and 4) cacao cashew.

However, ALL recipes had chocolate chips :)

Ready to bake
I tasted all four options. Multiple times.

Finished product x4

And I just couldn't decide which one I liked best between the Simple Cashew and the Cacao Cashew.  So I decided to share both recipes :)

Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies: Two Ways

Version 1. Simple

  • 1 c cashew butter 
  • 6 dates, pitted, soaked in hot water, and mashed into a paste
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 eggs (or chia eggs for vegan version)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c mini chocolate chips 
  • 1/3 c hemp seeds (optional)

Version 2. McChocolate-y

  • 1 c cashew butter 
  • 6 dates, pitted, soaked in hot water, and mashed into a paste
  • 2 eggs (or chia eggs for vegan version)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 3/4 - 1 c mini chocolate chips (I used about 1 cup....I really wanted chocolate!)

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet at let cool for a few minutes to set.

Flax egg- worked really well in this recipe!
Chocolate Chocolate Cashew Cookie
Simple. Classic. Delicious.