Planks & Experiments

What a wonderful week! It was laid back but I felt like I actually accomplished something. I am not sure what I accomplished but the days felt balanced for the most part.

I had fun picking strawberries with V

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I think we have picked over five (sand) buckets full of strawberries in the last week!

Hanging out with her and trying to convince her to play a game or dance with me. She thought that was boring. But as soon as I would need to leave the house she would say: don’t go! She makes me laugh ;)

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Do you like the smiley face she created in my hair?

I took a road trip for an interview, got to see my parents and broke in my gift card to the cheesecake factory. I still have some money left on the card and I think I will save it for when I get a job or my birthday. Whichever comes first.

The highlight of my week was going out swing dancing with a friend from church. It was my first time learning how to dance let alone swing dance. Willowbrook Ballroom had a very nice set up and even had lessons an hour before the live band started. The Flat Cats was the band and I really enjoyed the live music. It really added to the atmosphere of the night. I was thankful that I was asked to dance several times throughout the evening. I think I danced close to ten different times throughout the night :D My dancing was by no means perfect but I enjoyed myself and had some wonderful leaders/teachers. Several of the older gentlemen (aged seventy and up) were especially patient and kind and really knew how to lead and cover any of my mistakes :) Maybe its because they were raised in the eras where social dancing was taught and a regular occurrence.

An added bonus was getting a couple of things in the mail. I got a fun sticker from Tina at Carrots ‘N’ Cake and I won the Made From Earth Giveaway at Turby and John. I love getting mail :D

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How cute is that sticker! I especially the nice touch of having the products individually wrapped in colored tissue paper and embroidery floss!

Looking back at my recent kitchen experiments the last few weeks I realized that they all have one thing in common. Katie. Specifically Chocolate covered Katie!

I first tried her Snickerdoodle Blondies but used ground chia seeds instead of ground flax seeds. This resulted in a slightly darker bar but very tasty! I had to stop myself from eating all of the dough before baking it. I was in disbelief at how much it tasted like a Snickerdoodle!

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Next I decided to experiment with the recipe. The goal: Chocolate Banana Blondies (or I guess they would be brownies since I added cocoa). Instead of peanut butter or apple sauce I added one banana. I added 2 Tbs. Hershey’s Cocoa Powder, 1/8 tsp Vanilla and used 1/4 cup ground Chia Seeds. I also reduced the amount of Brown Sugar to 1/8 cup instead of 3/4 cup. Overall I thought it worked. It was a little heavy and had just a hint of sweetness. In the process of mixing it in my food processor I am pretty certain I overworked the dough. Next time I would experiment with a little more cocoa or maybe even chocolate chips and a little more brown sugar.

My parents have a Sunday evening tradition of eating pancakes or waffles. When I was visiting them over Memorial Day weekend I decided to make the Sunday meal. I was in the mood for cinnamon so I made Katie’s Snickerdoodle Pancakes. I had mine with a cinnamon-sugar mixture on top but my parents and friends that were over topped theirs with syrup. I ate the few that were leftover the next day on the road ;)

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But that wasn’t all I made that night. I was in the mood to experiment in the kitchen! I also made a variation of Katie’s Raw Cookie Dough Milkshake for everyone. I didn’t have the ingredients for the Raw Cookie Dough Balls but even without them, the milkshake was a success. I actually made it again tonight with the addition of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder for a Chocolate Cookie Dough Milkshake. Three cheers for healthy milkshakes!!!

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If you are not convinced that sweets can be healthy then I am not sure what to do with you. The last recipe I tried was Katie’s Raspberry Cobbler Bars. I used spelt four and frozen raspberries and honey instead of maple syrup or agave. The only trouble I had with the recipe was splitting the dough so that there was enough to cover the top. Oh well, I guess there is a reason I am a musician and not a pastry chef ;) I took these to small group and everyone seemed to enjoy them. The few bars that were leftover I quickly froze before I ate the entire pan in the span of a couple of days. I might be slightly obsessed with Katie’s recipes but I don’t care. Healthy recipes that satisfy my sweet tooth, I can’t say no to that!

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(sorry for the uninspired picture. I was so excited to eat something with raspberries that I kind of forgot to take a picture until I was ready to freeze the remaining bars. Oops!)

If you are still reading I will briefly update you on how I did this last week with the Plank Challenge. The third week I felt great doing three reps six days a week at thirty seconds for each rep. This fourth week was hard for me. I could not make myself hold the low plank for forty seconds :( I felt frustrated and did walk away for a day but then I decided to adjust my expectations and work through the wall. I did planks a few days at thirty-five seconds and then moved up to forty seconds. I am not sure what got to me this last week but I am working through it. Maybe the uncertainty of the job hunt finally go to me. This week I am going to continue working in between the thirty-five and fifty second mark and see what my body does. It should be interesting since I have several days of traveling due to job interviews. Due to the different schedule I am aiming at doing Yoga 3 times, Elliptical or Bike 2 times, Arms 2 times, and Planks with arm movement 6 times (I am hoping that adding a little movement to the plank will help with my focus).

I am looking for summer reading suggestions since I got my library card last week! So far I have looked through the cookbook section at the library. It has been awhile since I read a good fiction book so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)

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6 thoughts on “Planks & Experiments

  1. Oh. my. pie.
    I don’t even know what to say. I think this is the sweetest post ever! And I think your chocolate cookie dough shake variation is brilliant!

    Plus, I kinda love that last photo even if you don’t ;) .

    Hmmm… reading… my favorite books are by Thomas Hardy, but he’s kinda depressing! Other faves include Gone with the Wind, Shogun, and Les Miserables.

    Happy Tuesday, sweet girl!

  2. Mmmmmmmmm…millshake! :)
    I read The Last Sin Eater recently and it was good! I can’t remember the author. I’ll have to look into that. :)

  3. First, I love swing dancing! I haven’t done it in forever but reading about you made me smile!

    All of those treats look so good. My baking is all but nonexistent here. It’s the oven / convection contraption that really puts a damper on it. When I get desperate enough I’ll do it though. :)

    Right now I am reading In The Woods by Tana French. It is a murder mystery but intertwined with real characters. Makes sense? I’m enjoying it!

    • Thank you for stopping by and thanks for the book suggestion! I have read historical fiction books that factual events with characters that have been elaborated on by the author – seems somewhat similar.

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