Category Archives: Peanut Butter

WIAW #16: A Few Old Standbys

Happy Hump Day!

Hopefully, everyone is off to a great week so far!  I certainly can’t complain… the weather has been beautiful and the week seems to be flying by already. Keeping my fingers crossed the rest of the week does too!

What I Ate Wednesday (aka Tuesday)

Of course, since it’s Wednesday, I’ll keep up the usual WIAW posts so here we go…


I kicked off the day with an oldie but a goody.

overnight oats in a pb jar

Overnight oats with bananas and strawberries, all stuffed into a nearly empty peanut butter jar.  Not only is this jar concept absolutely delicious, but it saves me from washing an extra dish, score!

Mid Morning Snack

la croix and pb berry granola bar

Pretty familiar looking:  Coconut La Croix and a peanut butter berry granola bar.


turkey wrap

Whole wheat wrap with romaine lettuce, Cajun-style deli turkey, green onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and yellow mustard.  I really loved the addition of the cucumbers which gave the wrap an extra crunch!

veggies for lunch

Plus, some fresh cut up cucumbers and red, orange, yellow bell peppers on the side.

Afternoon Snack

caprese salad snack

Caprese salad with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.  I’ve been living off this stuff lately!


I had some zucchini and cilantro hanging out in the fridge that needed to be eaten up.

zucchini sauteAnd it just so happens what began as a way to use the produce turned into quite a fantastic meal!

zucchini saute2

I sauteed onion, zucchini, and fresh tomatoes with a few spices, before adding Trader Joe’s fire roasted frozen corn and canned pinto beans to the mix.  I then topped the veggie bowl with chopped parsley and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.  Simple and satisfying! 🙂

strawberries and cream dessert

As always, despite being full I wanted a little sweetness so I enjoyed a bowl of strawberries with a little cool whip and lemon wafers.  Great way to end the evening!


Double Dipped Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

Try to say that 10 times fast!  😉

I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen recently and I was in the mood for something sweet!

pb choco banana bites double dipped3

Based on my crazy obsession with all things chocolate and peanut butter and the fact bananas just make that combo even better, my mind naturally turned towards these ingredients.  And behold…

pb choco banana bite layers

Deliciousness!  Similar to a chocolate covered banana, but bite-sized and easy to pop in your mouth for a quick treat! 🙂

dd pb choco banana bite

Double Dipped Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites


1 banana (chilled in refrigerator, if possible)

4 tbls chocolate peanut butter

1 tbls + 1 tsp coconut oil

1-2 tbls peanut butter, divided


1.  Slice banana into thin slices.

sliced banana

2.  Place half the banana slices on a piece of parchment (or wax) paper.  Dab each slices with a small amount of peanut butter and top with remaining slices.  Put in freezer for about an hour or until mostly frozen.

pb choc banana bites 2b

3.  While the slices are freezing, combine chocolate peanut butter and coconut oil into a bowl and microwave just until melted, stirring occasionally.  Once bananas are frozen, insert a toothpick into each bite and dip in the chocolate mixture.

pb choco banana bites dip

4.  Place each bite back onto the parchment paper (or mini cupcake liners) and return to freezer until chocolate coating has hardened completely.

pb choco banana bites single dip

5.  Double dip the bites again in the chocolate mixture and remove toothpicks.  Return to freezer again until hardened.

pb choco banana bites double dipped2

6.  Enjoy!

pb choco banana bite layers

Chocolate {Protein} Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter “Frosting”

Boy, was I in baddddd shape yesterday!  Hence the lack of my normal Monday post…

It’s amazing what the lack of sleep will do to you.  Although we didn’t have any really late nights this past weekend, I was so super tired on Monday.  I generally function the best when I’ve consistently had 8+ hours of sleep each night, but lately that just hasn’t been happening.  Not only have I been in bed for less than 8 hours each night over the last week, but I keep waking up every 2 hours or so.  Problem is I can’t pinpoint why I’m not sleeping through the night.  Hopefully, it’s short lived because this girl needs her sleep!

No amount of coffee, 5 hour energies, sugar, etc. could shake off my exhaustion so I was in bed extra early last night and skipped a morning workout to catch some extra ZZZ’s.  And I’m happy to report, I’m feeling much better this morning. 🙂


On Sunday, we had my family over to grill out since my brother, Peter, and sister-in-law, Nikki, are in town.

It turned out to be such a beautiful day!  Only in Chicago does it snow one day and then 24 hours later be 70 degrees and sunny.  I’ll never understand it.

With everyone’s help, we made a huge dinner!  On the grill: steaks, chicken, zucchini, asparagus, and garlic bread.  Plus a tomato-mozzarella-avocado salad and some roasted new potatoes.  Unfortunately, I failed to take any pictures.  I guess I was too busy enjoying the company! 😉

Chocolate {Protein} Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter “Frosting”

chocolate peanut butter protein cake6

I’ve been dying to share this chocolate protein cake since last week.  I followed this recipe but changed up a few of the ingredients and added some “frosting”.

chocolate peanut butter protein cake5

The best part about this tasty little treat is it’s healthy!

chocolate peanut butter protein cake11

And you could totally eat it for breakfast.  MMMM!

chocolate peanut butter protein cake4

Plus, it has peanut butter.  And chocolate.  A winning combination in my book!

chocolate peanut butter protein cake12

Chocolate Protein Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter “Frosting”

Adapted from this recipe.

Serves 2


protein cake ingredients

Chocolate Protein Cake

2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Sunwarrior brand)

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla flavor)

2 eggs

Dash of salt

Handful of mini chocolate chips (optional)

Oil or cooking spray (I used a little melted coconut oil)

Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting

3 tbsp creamy peanut butter

1-2 tbsp greek yogurt (I used plain but vanilla would be good too!)


1.  Mix all protein cake ingredients (except chocolate chips) until well-combined with no lumps.  If possible, use a small blender or hand-held beater to ensure a smooth consistency.

chocolate protein cake2

2.  Pour into two small oiled/greased ramekins or microwaveable bowls.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if using.

chocolate protein cake1

3.  Microwave for 3 1/2 minutes or until the middle is set.

chocolate protein cake4

4.  Remove from ramekin and cool on a cooling rack.  Meanwhile, mix together peanut butter and yogurt to make the frosting.  Once completely cooled, spread an even layer over the top and serve.

chocolate peanut butter protein cake8

WIAW #14: Adobe Gilas

Look at what’s being built as we speak I type and you read…



Ahh I’m so excited!  They are building an outlet mall about 3 minutes from my work in Rosemont.

When I first started working in the area, there was very little to do.  Most of the surrounding buildings are other business offices and hotels, along with the convention center.  My coworkers and I have always had a tough time trying to find decent sit-down restaurants (besides fast food) or anywhere to hang out after work.  This was all up until a couple years ago when they added an entertainment district with a bunch of nice restaurants and bars, including Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar, Zanie’s Comedy Club, and Kings Bowling Alley.

Still, the area lacks any good shopping.  The only place nearby is Target which, don’t get me wrong, is better than nothing but just doesn’t cut it all the time.  But come August, we will have a huge fashion outlet mall with awesome stores!  Some stores I’m especially looking forward to Michael Kors, BCBG, Coach, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Limited, Tory Burch, among many others!  I seriously cannot wait!

What I Ate Wednesday

Okay, now that I’ve gotten some of the excitement out of my system, let’s take a peek at another day of food.


I prepped a batch of protein pancakes the night before following this recipe, minus the lemon Stevia and blueberries.

pbj protein pancake

I ate 3 of these protein pancakes smeared with peanut butter and jelly (this picture was the prettiest so became the representative for all three).  I was surprised at how delicious these were as leftovers served cold/room temp.  Very filling!  I will definitely be making these again.

Mid Morning Snack

roast beef wrap

Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around roast beef, spinach leaves, and yellow mustard.

I know, it’s a rather odd morning snack but I had already packed the rest of my food and realized I was still without something to hold me between breakfast and lunch.  I remembered I had roast beef deli meat that would likely go bad if I didn’t use it up quickly and thus, a roast beef wrap was had at 10 am!


sloppy joe and roasted veggies

Homemade Sloppy Joe filling (obviously minus the bun), alongside roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts.  Leftovers are just very un-photogenic, aren’t they?  My apologies. Oh well, sure tasted good!

Afternoon Snack

About an hour after lunch, I was ready for a tiny dessert.

reese's egg

Last Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg of the season.  😦

turkey jerky

I picked up this Turkey Jerky in the check out line at Target and stashed it away in my desk drawer.  Since I knew I would be having an early dinner, I didn’t want to ruin my appetite but needed something. Turkey Jerky to the rescue!  (I’ve never had it before but it tastes almost identical to beef jerky.)


Oh man, am I glad I saved plenty of room for dinner!

csf girls group pic

A group of us girls from work (including 2 former coworkers) all met at Adobe Gilas, the Mexican restaurant located in the Rosemont entertainment district.

adobe gilas guacamole

We started off with tri-colored tortilla chips dipped in guacamole and salsa and a few drinks.

adobe gilas tacos

Since it was $2 taco night, everyone ordered a combination of different kinds.  I had the buffalo chicken taco (crispy buffalo chicken and blue cheese) and the carne asada taco (steak, cilantro, and onions).  Cheap and yummy!

WIAW #9: Snow Day

You’ve probably already guessed it by now but yesterday I took my own personal snow day!


And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my choice.  I woke up at my normal time, headed downstairs, and looked out the window.  While there was only a light dusting so far, I checked the weather and the forecast still called for about 10 inches and 90-100% chance of snow every hour for the remainder of the day… no thanks!

What I Ate Wednesday

Yesterday was a bit “snackier” than most WIAW posts, probably because I saved the lunch I had packed the night before for today and had nothing planned for the day.  


I enjoyed a couple cups of coffee and relaxed for about an hour before heading to the gym.


On my way out the door, I grabbed a snowball energy bite to get something in my stomach pre-workout.  (Recipe coming your way soon!)

Mac Peanut Butter

As I pulled into the garage, Mac was finishing off the last of his peanut butter jar.  We normally put a tiny bit of peanut butter inside his red Kong toy to keep him busy but only a little peanut butter remained in the crevices so he earned the entire jar today and licked it clean!  Takes after his mom! 😉


I was starving when I got home but Mac begged for a walk so I quickly scarfed down an apple with a yogurt-peanut butter dip, bundled up, and headed out into the blizzard.

lunch almonds

I wasn’t all that hungry after our walk (probably because I used whole milk yogurt for that dip and ate twice as much as in the picture) but wanted a little something more so I nibbled on a couple small handfuls of Vanilla Roast Almonds.


As lunchtime rolled around, my appetite was back in full swing.

Lunch salad

Giant salad bowl and lemon La Croix.

lunch salad2

Herb lettuce mix, herb roasted deli turkey, cucumber, avocado, sundried tomatoes and sliced almonds all dressed in a garlic vinaigrette.

Afternoon Snack(s)

I worked a little from home after lunch and then cuddled on the couch with Mac to read a book.

snack1A few hours later while I was reading, I was craving something sweet so I had a small bowl of Greek yogurt with banana bread granola and a drizzle of peanut butter to satisfy my sweet tooth.

turkey lettuce wrap

Not surprisingly, I fell asleep while reading but woke up around 4 pm feeling refreshed and once again a little hungry.  To tide me over til dinner, I wrapped a slice of herb roasted turkey in a couple butter lettuce leaves with dijon mustard and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.



Macademia crusted tilapia with roasted brussel sprouts.


Dinner was EXCELLENT!  It’s been a very long time since I’ve cooked tilapia OR brussel sprouts for that matter and were very tasty!

Five Friday Favorites 02/07

Not only is it Friday but I took the day off and was able to sleep in a little bit later this morning!  And boy I needed it, that’s for sure.  For some reason, I have been getting really crappy sleep the past few nights and I woke up yesterday morning with a tiny sore throat.  I’m hoping it doesn’t develop into anything major, but I’ve been loading up on vitamins and Emergen-C, just in case!


Ya know how there are certain things that just make you happy?  It may be something small or random or insignificant to someone else, but for whatever reason, it just happened to brighten your day?!  Well, here are a few of my favorite (yet random) things from this week.

Five Friday Favorites

1.  Morning Sunrise


I’ve seen the sunrise nearly every morning this week on my drive in to work.  The only downfall is it causes an extra delay in traffic.  Even so, I have to look on the bright side <pun intended>, we are lucky any day the sun makes an appearance in the dead of winter in Chicago.

2.  Reginald’s Peanut Butter

Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m addicted to peanut butter.

i heart pb

Sorry, I can’t help myself.  Its an obsession.

Reginalds PB Sampler 10

I discovered Reginald’s brand through a post by Peace, Love and Oats, and I may or may not have ordered this 10 jar sampler pack online yesterday… but really, how could I resist?  Just look at these flavors:

Creamy Original Roast, Crunchy Original Roast, Apple Sin, Nana Honey, Double Chocolate Chunk, Hazelnut Amaretto, White Chocolate Macadamia, Cashew Nilla, Cinnamon Molasses, and Bourbon Pecan

OK, enough said.

3.  Mac & Snow

mac snows2

Mac is a funny creature, I gotta tell you.  Sometimes he will go out of his way to walk AROUND the snow and other times, he’ll completely bury his head and get covered in it.  Either way, he cracks me up!

4.  HeyTell

If you aren’t familiar with HeyTell, it is an app for your phone that is similar to text messaging but using your voice.  No typing necessary.


There are two main differences between HeyTell and actually talking on the phone.  The first is that you and the person you’re talking to do not have to be available at the same time.  Similar to a text message, I can send a friend a HeyTell message and it saves in their account until they are ready to listen to it.  The second difference is the option to add multiple people into one conversation.


My college girlfriends and I have a group HeyTell together and I absolutely love it!  It is such a great way to stay in touch, especially since none of us live particularly close and we don’t get together as often as we’d like.  Our HeyTell conversations always make my day! 🙂

5.  Coconut Butter

coconut butter

Coconut butter has been popping up all over the internet and I’ve been dying to  try it out for myself to see what the hype is all about.  I finally stumbled upon it this week at Tar-jay.  I’m excited to get started experimenting in the kitchen!

So, there you have it!  Five of my favorite things this week.

Now I’m wondering…

What were your favorite things this week?

Has anyone else experimented with coconut butter?  Any favorite recipes or suggestions?

40 Minute Treadmill Walking Intervals

Welp I have to say, I’ve had better mornings.

I mean, I was hoping it would take me nearly 2 hours to get to work…


…when there was only 1 inch of snow accumulation.

Obviously, just a little frustrated at the time… but ya gotta remember, things could always be worse, so no biggie.  Plus, on the bright side, it’s Friday!

Extra Precautions

During my first half-marathon training a couple years ago, I had issues with my knee so I vowed to be extra cautious during training this time around.  When I woke up on Monday and my knee was just a tiny bit sore, I decided to skip my next couple runs.  I’m not sure what caused it, whether it was running-related or something else.  Either way, I’m keeping my promise to myself to train the right way.

Although I’ve been pain-free for a few days now (pretty much since Tuesday) and may be too worried about it, I still erred on the side of caution and opted for no running this morning.

Instead, I completed this walking interval workout on the treadmill.

40 Minute Treadmill Walking Intervals

Don’t let the word “walking” fool you, this was still tough!  I was nice and sweaty by the end and ready to take on the day… err, the long drive. 😉

Happy Belated “National Peanut Butter Day”!

Sooo Thursday was “National Peanut Butter Day”!  I’m bummed I didn’t find out until yesterday, otherwise I would’ve planned a good peanut butter recipe since I’m obviously obsessed.  But instead, I had an extra large spoonful in my breakfast this morning to ‘celebrate’.

spoonful of peanut butter

By the way, who makes up some of these silly national holidays anyway?