Avocado Brownies

I'm in a chocolate mood.

I tried these today from Heather's recipe page.  I didn't see the part about using a loaf pan until after I was done - it didn't fully fill out an 8 x 8 pan but it was fine. I made a few changes (see recipe below) and these are really good. My only caveat was that the avocado that I used wasn't fully ripe so there are some visible little shreds in the brownie.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 t Baking Soda(I like them fudgy)
  • 1 T Flax
  • 1 T chia
  • 4 T water
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (more as needed)
  •  1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Peel and cut 1/2 of an avocado and blend in a food processor until it’s a creamy texture.
  2. Add 4 T of water and 1 T of ground flax + 1 T chia seeds to the avocado to make a flax egg. Let it sit for a few minutes while combining the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking soda.
  4. Blend the avocado and flax egg in the food processor to combine.  Add coconut oil.
  5. Add the avocado flax oil mix to the fry ingredients and mix.
  6. The mix will be too dry to mix completely. Add almond milk until  it creates a batter.
  7. Bake in a prepared baking pan for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Thanks Heather!

I also made: Flourless Pumpkin Bread. 
My mom said this tasted like a pumpkin omelet... hmm. It was ok, but doesn't taste like bread. I must have done something wrong.

ANd parsnips w/ sweet potatoes. Liked it!


Feeding change - help

Kara is almost 3.5 months old and eats 5 times a day at 7/8-11-2-5 and 7:30/8/before bed.  By 4 months, I'd like to switch her to a 4 times a day schedule so morning-12-4 and 8.  At 4 months do I just make the switch or ease into it? With Nick, he wasn't on a set schedule as well as Kara is. She is doing so well with a schedule and I think that has contributed to her sleeping so well at night.   I'm a little afraid to switch her to 4x/day too early but many days I have to wake her up to eat.  Any mom advice?

Unscheduled long run

This week, I've been affected by the death of the swimmer from our area.  I keep reading about it and thinking about it and wondering how it could have happened. It is such a tragedy.  It sounds like there were not enough people out watching the swimmers and like runners in hot temperatures, he must have passed out and just drowned. An Olympic hopeful. I hope there are penalties and fines and they can never hold an event there again. A buffoon on the staff made a statement that you might have seen that was "We're sorry that the guy died, but he overexerted himself." I wish I could body slam that guy to the ground. That's just terrible - imagine how his family feels.  I also hope there is research done and new rules for temperatures for all sports - it is not worth it.

I've been hugging my kids closer this week and really enjoying them. This morning, Bill had to get up at 5am for work, so I got up too. I am a morning person and love getting up early when I have enough sleep - I feel like I can get so much done before the kids are up!  I got on the treadmill with the goal to do 7 miles, then just kept running until I had to get Kara. I got in 12 miles and that was my goal for my long run this weekend so I'm done with that!  I'm excited because I'm just not as motivated to run on Saturday mornings and miss family time. This past Saturday was great because my sister was in town and she worked around my schedule and we went on a new trail right near my house. Minimal time away from the family and quality time with my sister!  I'm seriously still recovering from the track workout and will go again next week but am skipping this week!

A few recipes to share:
First I picked up this book at the library: 

 I've tried a couple of things in the book but this one is totally worth sharing. Nick and I had it for lunch today - I've been out of ideas for lunch and I feel like he has a peanut butter sandwich everyday.  I happened to have all the ingredients except avocado so I left that out.

Sneaky Dad's Pudding from Raising Vegetarian Children
1.5 cups frozen strawberries
1 banana, broken into pieces
1 to 2 tsp cocoa powder (I used a scoop of Amazing Grass chocolate super food)
2 tsp flaxseed oil (I used ground flax)
3 - 5 T. cashew/almond butter (I used 3)
2-3 T orange juice (I think I used 3)
2 T milk of choice (used almond)
1/8 to 1/4 avocado (didn't have - omitted)

For Nick's, I didn't add in the chocolate powder because he likes the fruit taste better than chocolate (not sure what his problem is, haha). He started with a spoon (and me feeding him because it would have been a mess) and finished with a straw. He's a picky eater right now and it was good to get in the fruit and good fats.  I would attempt to add in some spinach next time.

For Breakfast, I saw this post about smooshy balls. I didn't know what Nick was having for breakfast so this is what I made. It's probably more of a dessert but he had it with grapes and milk, so that's the way it goes today. I guess he's kind of had 2 desserts for his meals today. Oops.

1 c peanut butter (used an almond/peanut combo)
1/2 c dry milk powder 
1/4 c maple syrup (recipe called for honey but maple syrup + peanut butter is divine)

Just mix it all together, roll it out and roll it in anything you want. 
I rolled it in wheat germ, ground chia and flax.

Next up I have a mom question on feeding and have to try the recipes I wanted to try from last week. Got sidetracked!  

What do your kids have for lunch?!  I feel like I'm always in a rush since we usually go out in the morning.


Paying Respects

I just wanted to take a minute to pay respect to a local swimmer who passed away this morning. Fran Crippen came from a family of swimmers in this area - his sister went to Villanova (where Bill and I also went) and they were in our summer swim league.

Locally, if you are or were a swimmer, you knew of this family - 3 girls and 1 boy that were especially talented in swimming. 

This morning I was running with my sister and her old swim coach rode by on a bike. The first thing that he shared with us was that this young man had passed away this morning in an open water swim competition in Dubai. He was 26 years old. We couldn't believe it.  I can't understand how no one saw him go down. I feel so sad. I never met him, I only knew of him.  I just wanted to pay my respects, share with you the article from Philly.com and revel on how short life can be. I don't understand it.


CSN stores and moving out of the crib

Most of you have seen the CSN giveaways around the blog world and heard of CSN stores.  They have over 200 stores and almost every product you could think of, including nightstands, cribs, toddler beds, bureaus and tons of kitchen tools. Can you tell I've started thinking about furniture for my little ones? I am excited to pick out a bedding theme for when Nick moves into a bed.  There are tons of products to choose from at CSN, I'm not sure what I will pick out but I'll be sure to let you know what I find!

I think we are going to go from a crib to regular bed when Nick is between 2 and 3. We have 2 cribs right now! He was too little (17 months) for us to switch him out of the crib (I thought!) When did you switch your little one out of the crib to a bed? Did you do the toddler bed? Was it necessary since you needed the crib again or was it just time? How did you know? Right now Nick has a pooh theme in his room, and this below is cute, but I might move on to airplanes or trucks or something cute like that. For boys, what do you have?

I've had my eye on this one from PBK - maybe a grandparent gift!

Winner GU

Adrienne - you're my winner! Please email me at tosha25italia@yahoo for Island Nectars GU!

I am so sore from the track on Wednesday - it was great! I ran slowly yesterday with my brother's girlfriend and today did some stretching, kettlebells and yoga. So sore!! I didn't swim this week at all. 

Have a great weekend all!


Track workout

Tonight I went to my first track workout with the running group that I joined earlier this month. It was awesome! First I wasn't sure what to eat from lunch on to make sure my stomach was ok - it was kind of unsettled so I'll have to figure something out. I got there just as they were starting. I had a mini warmup jogging to the track - 2 minutes maybe? but whoa, not enough for just getting back into speed training.

It was set up in groups by 5K time. I went in the group 2 which was 22-24 minutes I think. I know Group 1 was under 22 so I just went with the next group. My 5K is a low 23.  There are people in charge of each group, starting us and timing us. It was very cool! The workout was a pyramid:

1 x 800 with 400 recovery - I did this first one in 3:40 with the group
2 x 1000 with 200 recoveries - just under 5 minutes
1 x 1600 with 400 recovery - around 8 min mile
2 x 1000 with 200 rec. - just over 5 minutes - started to fade
1 x 800 with 400 rec. - 3:47

5.75 miles. Then I ran another mile to cool down. 

It was not bad for my first time, I was pleased!  What made me chuckle was that the people I was running with were chatting and having a conversation. Meanwhile, a few others and I were struggling to even breathe! It was a great workout and I hope to go back next week. I just need to find a babysitter! I met a few people, but the people in my group seemed kind of hard core.  I didn't introduce myself to them - I'm kind of shy in new crowds, but my friend Bill who I used to work with introduced me to a few people. Thanks Bill!

We'll see if I can get out of bed tomorrow.

I have a confession to make - I hate leaving my kids and missing bedtime and/or Saturday mornings. I was totally lingering before I left today which made me late.  It is hard for me to get out, but I know it's good!


Clif Seasonals & GU

Clif has seasonal flavors out that sound delicious. I haven't picked them up yet but I can't wait to try them!  Have you tried them yet? The flavors are Cranberry Orange Nut Bread, Iced Gingerbread and Spiced Pumpkin Pie. Yum Yum! CLIF BAR will donate 1% of net sales from the seasonal flavors to Winter Wildlands Alliance, the first and only national organization that works on behalf of skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, winter hikers and other outdoor adventurers to address national issues that impact our winter wildlands.  

Another thing new with GU is their energy gel - they made a new recipe. Has anyone tried it? I haven't found it yet but the old one was too heavy for me so I'm looking forward to trying the new one.

 Check out Clif bar on Facebook  or follow on Twitter.

Clif is turning 20 on November 17th so look out for a Giveaway here!!   Hopefully I'll have some seasonal flavors to share with you by then!

Another seasonal flavor - GU's Island Nectars. Have you tried it? I would describe it as a MAI TAI w/ strong pineapple flavor.  I would like to stick with the Chocolate Icing - that's what I call it - or Vanilla Bean flavors, but this was definitely an island flavor. The gingerbread is also amazing: seasonal too! Would you like to win a 4-pack of Island Nectars? Leave a comment below with your favorite go - to vegetarian dinner recipe. If you don't have a favorite in this category, how about your favorite healthy baked good?  Leave one comment! I'll choose a winner on Friday Oct 22.

Things I want to try this week:
Parsnips and Carrots P.S. this is an awesome website for moms/baby food
Flourless Sugar Free Pumpkin Bread
Warm Lentil Salad

Things I've made this week:
Maple Nut Oaties -
I changed this recipe a bit:
1/2 c favorite nut butter
1/2 c oats
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c flaxseeds
1/4 c protein powder
1/4 c chia seeds

Mix all together. Put in fridge 15 min to firm up then cook at 325 in little balls for 10-12 min.
Yum yum!


week recap

Thank you all for responding to my question. The half it is! I am waiting for approval and think they will let me in. I am covering the race for my examiner site, so am planning to run the half and bike the second half. Regardless if I get an official entry I will probably race and time myself for the half. I needed to hear NOT to do the marathon. It takes planning, it's serious. 26.2 miles is no joke! It deserves respect and I wasn't respecting the distance.
This week's workouts
Here was my week recap so far. I didn't get to swim as much as I wanted but it just burns me out getting up before 5 and then being with the kids all day.   There was alot of running (for me)
Monday: Kettleballs and run 5 miles tempo
Tuesday: easy broken up 8 miles
Wednesday: swim 2900 yds
Thursday: easy broken up 8 miles
Friday: easy broken up 7.1 miles
Saturday plan - swim 3000 and run 2 miles & pilates or lifting
Sunday is off!

No long run this week because I want to get in some swim yardage.  And no biking because... I just wasn't feeling it!

"Live each day like it is your last"
Do you do this? I like this quote and it also freaks me out.
I can do this with my kids but I'm still working on this with others close to me.
I want to read every last book, rock Kara to sleep whenever I can and give her one on one time as much as possible I know how fast it goes and I don't want to miss a minute!
Having lost a family member (aunt) 10 years ago suddenly (she was a mom of 4 small children), I feel like this is ALWAYS in the back of my head. What if I died? What if something happened to Bill or one of the kids? It freaks me out all the time and gives me a whole lot of anxiety. I'm trying to find a happy place of living each day like it's your last.
Foods this week
Spinach and Mushroom Frittata w/ Smoked Cheese and Quinoa Crust

4 egg whites + 2 whole eggs
1 cup cooked mushrooms
2 cups spinach, cooked (I cooked with 1 T olive oil)
1/2 cup smoked cheese (the one I used was a mix from Trader Joe's)
1/2 c quinoa, cooked
1/4 c water + 1 T ground flaxseed
salt and pepper to taste

First make the crust. Mix the water and ground flax together and let stand 5 minutes. Mix with the quinoa and press into a greased pie plate. Bake 15 minutes at 325.  Meanwhile, place the spinach, eggs and cheese in a food processor until smooth. Mix in the mushrooms. When the crust is done, cover it with the spinach/eggs/cheese/mushroom mix and put back in the oven for 30 minutes.   The smoked cheese really gives it a nice flavor, but any cheese or no cheese at all would be fine too!
Heather's Maple Nut Oaties.
Wow!!  These are totally delicious. They are simple, wholesome, natural, moist and sweet.  I'm pretty sure I could eat a whole batch every day.

1/2 c almond butter
1/2 c maple syrup or agave (I might even try less next time, they were SUPER sweet)
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c oatmeal (I didn't toast it first)
1/4 c protein powder

Heather adds a bunch of other things in too - check out her site above for more add ins.

Mix all ingredients together and place batter in the fridge to firm up for 15 minutes. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes.

My baby girl is 3 months today! Where does the time go? She is doing so much better: the first 11 weeks were TOUGH but  I have her down to a T now.  She is totally sweet and I love her to death.


Have a great weekend!


Marathon? your thoughts?

I have an entry to the Philly races coming up in a month and I'm not sure which to enter myself in.   I haven't run more than the 13 miles in the half a month ago, but I've been doing about 10 miles as a long run each week and logging 25-30 miles a week. Do I amp up my training and attempt the full as a fun run? Or just work on my speed and race the half and then run a few more miles of the full if I'm feeling good? I'll be covering the race to write about it, so the more of the course I can run, the better, but I'm clearly not in marathon shape.  I'm sure I could finish it, but it wouldn't be pretty unless I really up the miles. If I sign up for the half, I can definitely finish it, get a medal, etc. If I sign up for the full and midway through decide there's no way, I'd feel bad taking a half medal.  There's something about finishing a marathon that makes me feel happy and it is enticing, but I have to think about where I am right now and if I could handle it.  What do you think?


moving along

My baby Kara is sleeping like an angel at night - much better than Nick did! And sleeping in so that I can get in the workouts in the morning and be ready to face the day by the time both kids are up.

Last week was running heavy - I reached 30 miles! But I only did 5+ miles on the bike and about 4000yds swimming. The first triathlon that I am going to do is basically a sprint distance with indoor swim in April so I do have time to actually train and get on the bike.  I am toying with the idea of doing a half ironman in October, but I haven't even done any tri distance yet, so I am not sure about that. The idea of riding a bike for more than an hour and the idea of swimming in open water - both of these kind of freak me out.  I guess I'll try it out and go from there.   I'm enjoying the OFF day. It feel so good to not have to work out for one day. I like it. Thank you KAZ :-)

Last week: 
Monday: Run 4 miles + Kettleballs
Tuesday: Run 8 miles
Wednesday: Swim 1600 + abs
Thursday: Run 8 miles, bike 5.23 miles
Friday: Swim + abs
Saturday: 10.5 miles broken up
Sunday: off

As far as eating, lately I have not been doing well. I have been eating whatever Nick doesn't eat and not making myself meals. I feel like that makes me pick at food all day and I need to change that ASAP!

I love fall. I've made a few things worth sharing in the last week or so.  First a fall picture of the little ones:

Nick does not like Kara invading his space.

 This is Angela's pumpkin brownie above from Oh She Glows.

 I believe this is from No Meat Athlete Matt - Wheatballs & Cheeze Sauce
These were very tasty. Not 100% about the cheezee sauce but it was pretty good.

Makes about 28 wheatballs
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped white mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup wheat gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, mushrooms, garlic, and parsley and pulse until coarsely ground, but not pureed.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.
2. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into a large bowl and knead the mixture until well blended, about 2 minutes.
3. Pinch off a small piece of the mixture, press it together in your hand, then roll into a 1 1/2-inch ball.  Repeat with the remaining mixture.
4. In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat.  Add the wheatballs, in batches if necessary, and cook until browned all over, moving them in the pan as needed for even browning, about 5 minutes.
5. Repeat until all the wheatballs are cooked.  They are now ready to use in recipes. If not using right away, cool completely, then cover and refrigerate or freeze until needed.  Properly stored, they will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 to 4 weeks.

Cheezee Sauce

Makes about 2 1/2 cups
  • 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups plain unsweetened soy milk or water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the yeast, cornstarch, salt, and garlic powder.  Turn the heat on medium and whisk in the soy milk.  Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard.  The sauce is now ready to use.  If not using right away, refrigerate the sauce in a container with a tight-fitting lid, where it will keep for several days.


welcome back, 7.0

This week I am meeting my goals without too much effort. It has really helped that Kara has been sleeping later so I can get in a full workout in the morning before both kids are up or need me. The hardest thing for me is going to be getting in the bike. I am not a fan and riding on the stationary bike is dreadful! My dad has one of the espresso bikes that has a computer screen and course like you are going against people and I really still dread every minute I'm on it! I am going to borrow a trainer and bike and try that out but I can't picture liking it without seeing any stats. At least on the treadmill I can try to beat my pace from the day before or do more mileage. Yikes on the bike!

My speed is slowly coming back! And I feel good. On Monday I had a great run after the day off on Sunday - probably the fastest I've ran in a while with some 7.0 speed thrown in there (treadmill). Tuesday I was able to get in 7 miles in the morning with 4 intervals of half mile fast - averaged 7.0 as my fast which is big! I haven't hit the 7s in such a long time. I did an easy quarter mile between them and for the last two I made them 3/4 mile. They felt good. I did an extra mile in the afternoon. Yesterday I did a tempo run around 6.7 (9 min mile speed). We're getting there! I also biked today so my legs feel like mush. I only did 5.2 miles on the bike. I stink at it. Sat long run and Sun off. I'm not fitting in much lifting or yoga/stretching so that is the next goal.

Monday - Kettleballs + 4 miles
Tuesday - Run 8 miles - interval training
Wednesday- Swim 2500 yds + abs
Thursday - run 7 miles - tempo (5 miles) + 1 mile w/ stroller, 5.23 biked (27 min)
Friday plan - swim 1600 yds + do some abs or strength
Saturday - long run
Sunday - off

My hardest thing is getting up for swimming lately - it is hard then getting motivated to go run on Saturday morning after getting up early on Friday. Might have to switch off to Saturday and long run to Sun or off day to Mon.

Taking the lead from Heather over at HEAB, I made my coconut into coconut butter by putting it in the food processor for a while, then added melted chocolate chips. That was good. Then I decided to add almond butter, hemp seeds and flax seeds. Move over Naturally Nutty - I don't need you! This is a nice spread full of good stuff.


triathlon & Grain bread

Thank you for all of the help triathletes for the beginner here! I'm in the process of coming up with a training plan that might work for me.   A little bummed about the lack of weights/strengthening that is going to happen and lots of biking, but I think I can get everything done once Kara is sleeping on a schedule and I'm not guessing when she is going to wake up.   Next I have to get my sister's old bike and get it tuned up (maybe that is what you call it) at the bike store, consider getting a bike trainer, or going to spin class? and everything else is all set (swimming and running). I'm excited!

Taking your advice I also took the day off on Sunday. It was a great idea and it was family day - we went to the pumpkin orchard.   I did kettleballs today and today's run was excellent - fresh legs!- So I am glad I took off yesterday.

Some eats over the last several weeks:

Spaghetti squash with cheese and beans.
 Inspired by Heather - chocolate brown rice bread
2/3 cup brown rice soaked overnight: the next day spread out with papertowels and pat dry
With rice, add to vitamix:
3/4 c water, dash sea salt, 1 T cocoa powder and 1 T sugar.
Spray your pan and bake 20 min and you get a nice bread!

 Used the same recipe with 2/3 c of barley. This one was more rubbery but both good.

October is also breast cancer awareness month. Here are a few articles on a health and beauty site that are informative:

 9 ways to reduce your risk
Give yourself a self exam
Breast cancer awareness

With Kona coming up this weekend, GU is releasing a seasonal flavor for a limited time: ISLAND NECTARS- just in time for Kona.  Look for this button below on my right sidebar - if you are doing Kona click it and get a free loot bag out there. If you order GU from the website, you can get a free 6 pack of this new flavor.


Training for Tris

Some of you are training for Kona (good luck Angela K & Mama S)... others have finished an ironman or other distance triathlon. Congrats Angela G! Since doing something like a half iron also entails running a half marathon, how in the world do you fit in all the training? What is your weekly running mileage in addition to everything else? Do you do maybe a bike one week, swim one week and mostly run? What about lifting and abs? I'd love to hear what your training is like. I used to do 30 miles a week minimum - but it easily made me burnt out. I think I ran 4-5 days a week which isn't alot for many of you. I can't do that anymore. I will hate running.  I'm en route to visit a site to come up with a training plan to do an Olympic distance tri in the spring -that's my goal! I'm excited about this.   The only thing is -- whoa!! I've looked at one race and the entry fee is $200??! That's crazy!! Oh - and why is the swim the shortest part??

This morning I was supposed to meet up with the running group that I joined and do 10 miles. Instead, I slept in and went by myself and did 9.2 miles. I was afraid to listen to music with all the rain we had and possible falling tree branches - but I think that would have helped me do a few more miles. It was a gorgeous morning for a run nonetheless! While I was running, I was thinking how I ran 3 days this week (6+ miles, 7 miles then the 9.2) and that 3 days really isn't enough but 4 days of running might just be boring for me! Can I get by with 3 days? I can surely run tomorrow to reach my mileage goal, but that was to be my day off. What should my weekly mileage be? Here's what the week turned out to be:

Monday: Yoga/Pilates/Strength or Bike - morning or use gym daycare
actual: bike 6 miles + Jillian kettleballs
Tuesday: Run - morning
run 6.27 miles
Wednesday: Swim/Strength or track workout and swim on Monday - morning or night track
swim 2200 yds/45 minutes + pilates/abs
Thursday: Run - morning
run 7 miles
Friday: Swim/Strength - morning
swim 3200 yds/1hr
Saturday: Long Run with group
9.2 miles
Sunday:Yoga/Pilates/Strength or Bike - class at gym OFF(good idea Kaz)
run 3 miles to get to 25 miles for week? off? lift? pilates?