Sunday, September 18, 2016

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

These yummy and nutritious cookies hit the spot today on this chilly day in Belgium. If you are looking for the perfect Sunday treat but don't want to totally break your healthy eating you have found the perfect recipe. :)

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did! 

Ingredients: 

1 Cup Oat Flour
3/4 Cup Rolled Oats
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/8 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Tbsp Shredded Coconut
1/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup 
Extra flour if needed 

Directions: 

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir very well. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together all liquid ingredients. 

Pour wet into dry and stir to form a dough. 

Roll out chocolate chip oatmeal cookie dough balls by smushing the dough together with your fingers. The dough will be sticky.

If the dough is too sticky add a little bit more flour to make it more manageable to work with. 

Place on the pan, smush down just a little bit. Place the dough in the freezer for about an hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees bake about ten minutes. 

The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies should still look a little undercooked when you remove them from the oven, but they’ll firm up as they cool. 

Set the tray aside for 10 minutes before removing the cookies. 

Enjoy! 

Finishing Up The Stranger & Starting The Snow Child

I thought The Stranger was a great book. I wanted to know so badly what was going to happen next that I read it in like two days. :) 

I liked how the book constantly kept me on the edge of my seat and made my wonder when the characters were going to realize what was going on. What did you think about The Stranger?

Here are a couple questions about The Stranger. Let me know what you thought about the book. :) 


1. What was Adam’s reaction to the Stranger and his story? Did he believe it at first?

2. We are only told about Adam’s feelings throughout the book. Why did the author not let us in on Corrine’s thoughts or feelings at all?

3. When the men from the soccer team came to Adam and told him Corrine had taken the money from the soccer fund what was his reaction?

4. The author, Harlan Coben, was asked in an interview why he wrote about ordinary people whose live change in a few dramatic moments. What do you think?


Our next book is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. We will be starting it Sunday September 18th and ending it on Sunday November 2nd.

Synopsis From Goodreads: Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

Lets Get Reading! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Finishing Up Reconstructing Amelia & Starting The Stranger

I loved Reconstructing Amelia. It kept me guessing and interested the entire book. I also loved that the end totally shocked me. What did you think about Reconstructing Amelia? 

Here are a couple questions about Reconstructing Amelia. Let me know what you thought about the book!

1. Might Amelia's situation have been different if she'd had a larger family around her? What if that family had been larger, but more filled with conflict?

2. Is Kate a good mother? She believes she knows her daughter well, but does she? What does she discover about Amelia that surprises her? What does she discover that confirms her deepest beliefs about Amelia and their relationship?

3. What kind of a support network does Kate have to rely on? Does she bear any blame for the events that occur? Is there any way she could have prevented the tragedy? What about Grace Hall—how much, if any, responsibility does the school bear for Amelia's death? Who can you turn to for help in handling a problem involving your child?

4. Why is being popular so important in adolescence? Has the Internet and social networking added to the pressures teenagers must cope with? 
Our next book is The Stranger by Harlan Coben. We will be starting it Sunday September 4th and ending on Sunday Septemeber 18th.

Synopsis From Goodreads: The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

Lets Get Reading!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowls

I love Tuesday dinners because I always make them Mexican food themed. My favorite!! We have been eating extra healthy lately and we have not been eating bread so I needed to come up with something for our Tuesday dinners that did not require tortillas. :)

Here is my solution. This meal is so delicious that you won't even miss the tortillas. Hope you like it!  

Ingredients For Chicken Burrito Bowl: 
1 1/2 Cup Cooked Quinoa
1 Batch Fajita Seasoning
1 Batch Fajita-Seasoned Chicken
1 Batch Sautéed Veggies
1 Batch Corn Salsa
1 Batch Guacamole
1 Can Black Beans
Greek Yogurt To Use In Place of Sour Cream; Optional, But Totally Delicious :)

Fajita Seasoning Ingredients :
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tbsp Salt
1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Cumin
1/8 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Fajita-Seasoned Chicken Ingredients:
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts; Pounded to Even Thickness
Fajita Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Sautéed Veggies Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Bell Pepper; Stem and Core Removed, And Thinly Sliced
Red Onion; Peeled, And Thinly Sliced

Corn Salsa Ingredients:

1 12oz Bag Frozen Corn; Thawed and Heated
1/4 Cup Finely-Diced Red Onion
2 Tablespoons Finely-Chopped Cilantro
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice

Guacamole Ingredients:
2 Ripe Avocados
1 1/2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Diced Red Onion
1/2 Garlic Clove, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Medium Tomato, Seeded, and Small-Diced


To Make Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowls:

Place quinoa in a bowl, spreading it out so that it covers the bottom of the bowls.

Place the chicken, peppers and onions, corn salsa, black beans and guacamole on top of the quinoa.

Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with a lime wedge if desired.

To Make Fajita Seasoning:
Simply mix all ingredients together.

To Make Fajita-Seasoned Chicken:

Rub fajita seasoning evenly over each chicken breast.

Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat.

Add chicken breasts and cook for about 5 minutes per side, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer translucent.

Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Then cut into bite-sized cubes.

To Make Sautéed Veggie:

Return the same saute pan to the heat and add the oil. Heat over medium-high heat, then add peppers and onions.

Saute for 4-5 minutes until the veggies are cooked and softened.

Remove from heat.

To Make Corn Salsa:

Toss all ingredients together until combined.

To Make Guacamole:
Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl.

Immediately add the lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well.

Using a spoon, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes.

Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Finishing Up The Devil in the White City & Starting Reconstructing Amelia


I absolutely loved this book. It has to be one of my all times favorite books that I have ever read. I cannot wait to read more of Eric Larson's book. Simply amazing!! What did you think about The Devil in the White City?

Did you know that this
book is going to be a movie and
Leonardo DiCaprio will be Dr. HH Holmes? WHAT! I can't even wait to see this movie. 

Here are a couple questions about The Devil in the White City. Let me know what you thought about this book. :) 

1. In what ways does the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 change America? What lasting inventions and ideas did it introduce into American culture? What important figures were critically influenced by the Fair?

2. At the end of the book, Larson suggests that "Exactly what motivated Holmes may never be known" [p. 395]. What possible motives are exposed in The Devil in the White City? Why is it important to try to understand the motives of a person like Holmes?

3. How was Holmes able to exert such power over his victims? What weaknesses did he prey upon? Why wasn't he caught earlier? In what ways does his story "illustrate the end of the century" [p. 370] as the Chicago Times-Herald wrote?

4. What satisfaction can be derived from a nonfiction book like The Devil in the White City that cannot be found in novels? In what ways is the book like a novel?

Our next book is Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. We will be starting it August 21st and ending on Sunday September 4th.

Synopsis From Goodreads: Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she'd done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of "spontaneous" suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn't jump.

Sifting through Amelia's emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day-and why she died.

Lets Get Reading! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Healthy Protein Cookie Dough For One

Here is a super simple treat that you can make with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Ingredients: 
1/2 Banana, Mashed
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/4 Cup Oat Flour
1 Tbsp Almond Butter or Peanut Butter
1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Honey 
1/2 Tbsp Milk
1 Tbsp Chocolate Chips (Optional)

Directions: 
In a bowl, combine the banana, protein powder,oat flour and maple syrup or honey and mix very well.

In a small bowl melt the nut butter with the maple syrup or honey.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

Add milk until desired consistency is reached. 

Top with chocolate chips if using.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grilled Lime Salmon with Avocado-Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

This is my ultimate favorite meal right now!! It is so good. You need to try it ASAP! :) This recipe is for two. But I will recommend to double the salsa if you really like salsa because it is delicious and you can never have enough salsa. ;) 

Try this recipe and let me know what you think. I hope you love it as much as I do! :) 

Ingredients:

Lime Salmon

2 Skinless Salmon Fillets
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
3 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Coconut Rice
1 1/2 Cups Coconut Water
1 Cups Brown Rice

Avocado-Mango Salsa
1 Large Mango, Peeled and Diced
1 Chopped Red Bell Pepper
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/3 Cup Chopped Red Onion
1 Large Avocado, Peeled and Diced
1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Coconut Water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

For Salmon:

Mix the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place salmon in baking dish, cover and allow to marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, then flip salmon to opposite side and allow to marinate 30 minutes longer. 

Preheat a grill over medium-high heat.

Brush grill grates with oil or place sliced limes on the grill to place salmon on. Sliced limes are a great way to prevent the salmon from sticking and also gives the salmon great flavor. 

Place salmon on grill and grill about 5 minutes per side or until just cooked through.

For Coconut Rice:
While the salmon is marinating prepare the coconut rice. 

Bring the coconut water to a full boil. 

Add rice and cover.

Turn heat down to a simmer and simmer until liquid has been absorbed. About 30 minutes. 

For Avocado-Mango Salsa:
I like to prepare the salsa while the salmon is grilling. 

Toss together mango, bell pepper, cilantro, red onion, avocado, lime juice, olive oil and coconut water. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve I like to put the coconut rice on top of my salmon and then top the rice with salsa.

Enjoy!!