Oatmeal Cookie Awesome

I’m a huge sufferer of the 4:00p munchies. Like clockwork, my stomach starts gurgling. Some weeks it’s so bad that I could almost set my watch by it. Almost. Since it’s a bit early for dinner and I usually work out prior to going home, I like to have something healthy to remedy my rumbly tummy.

A while ago I found some articles that had recipes for homemade oatmeal cookies/granola bars. All of them either looked too healthy (so organic and wholesome they didn’t look appetizing) or too rich ( lots of sugar/chocolate). So, I did some research on what types of components would be necessary to make a bake-able cookie and what healthy and delicious ingredients I wanted to include. I settled on dried cherries, chocolate chips and unsweetened coconut for my yummy mix ins and flax seed meal, for fiber, and quinoa flour, for protein, as my healthy mix ins. I’ve gone through a few iterations now, and I think I’ve got a delicious cookie that will make the perfect afternoon snack. It’s like my own version of a lara bar in cookie form – the kara bar

Healthy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Almost All the Ingredients


  • 3 Ripe Bananas
  • 1/3 Cup Applesauce
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 Cups Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cherries
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/3 Cup Quinoa Flour


    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
    2. Add enough water to the flax seed meal to dissolve it in water. This makes it gel and will prevent it from being grainy in the cookies.
Dry Flax Seed
Dissolved Flax Seed
    1. Place the bananas, applesauce, milk and vanilla into a blender. Blend until all combine, about 1 minute
    2. Place the remaining dry ingredients into a large bowl. Pour in the liquids and mix well.

Dry Ingredients

    1. Add quinoa flour. You may need to add more depending on how big your bananas were. Add enough so that the consistency is like slightly runny cookie dough.


    1. Roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. I used olive oil spray to coat my cookie sheet. This will prevent any chocolate chips from getting stuck on the sheet.

Balled Cookies Ready to Go into the Oven

  1. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. They cookies won’t run and will keep their ball shape when baked.
  2. Let cool and Enjoy!

They usually keep about a week if you place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Let me know if you try and like them!



Meal-Planning & Chicken Barley Soup

Lately, while I have been doing fairly tough workouts with my buddies, I haven’t been working out enough in general (twice a week doesn’t cut it).  And to top it off, I’ve gotten a little lazy with watching what I’m eating.  I’m pretty sure the food is roughly 8 times more important than the exercise (I don’t want to bother you with the calculus involved. 😉 ).  So this weekend, I followed some guidance from Fitness Magazine, and tried to prep a bunch of stuff in advance so that it would be easy for me to eat healthy this week.

General prep for the week:

  1. poached 4 organic free-range chicken breasts, shredded the meat for use in soup, wraps, salads, whatever.
  2. cooked 1 cup (dry) of barley for soup, salads, etc.  Makes about 3.5 cups cooked.

This alone will help me behave.  Just having the right carbs on hand leaves me with no excuses.

But last night I also made this super-easy Chicken Barley Soup.  I got the recipe from Fitness Magazine (P.S. who subscribed to Fitness Magazine for me?   I have been wondering about it for months.  Thank you, generous friend/family.). Can’t find the recipe on their website yet, but here it is, from memory:

  • 1.5 cups cooked shredded chicken breast (substitute tofu if you’re feelin’ Veggie)
  • 4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth (I used half vegetable broth, because I had some leftover in the fridge)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • ~3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • ~3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1.5 cups of sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  • 1/4 c chopped green onions
  • 1 3/4 c cooked barley
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend (I totally didn’t measure this, but the magazine says 2 tsp)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic (hahaha, more like 3 tsp over here)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large cooking pot (you’ll use this for the whole soup, so use your big — 4 quart? — pot).  Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds, then toss in the celery, carrots, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Let it all cook, until the mushrooms have given off most of their juices, 4-6 minutes.

Add the wine, and simmer until the wine has almost evaporated.  About 3 minutes…  Then add the broth, and bring the soup base to a boil, cooking until vegetables are soft enough for you.  This took about 8 minutes for me.

Add in the barley, chicken, and green onions, and cook until everything is heated through.  Adjust thickness of the soup to your liking, using broth or water. This takes less than 5 more minutes.

Makes 4 servings, according to the magazine.  I feel like it could easily stretch to 5-6 servings.  I had it for dinner & late night snack yesterday, and lunch today.  My boyfriend also took some for lunch today, and there is still enough left for one more serving in the fridge.  It tastes great!

I also picked up some chick peas, white beans, avocados, and some 100-calorie wraps to use with the remaining cooked chicken and barley.  Here are my thoughts for lunches the rest of the week:

Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap

Tomato, Feta, & Barley Salad (with Chicken)

Do you ever prep stuff in advance for your weekday lunches and dinners?  What do you make?  Is it always leftovers?  Any recommendations?


Friday Leg Workout + Ab HIIT

Apologies for missing the Friday workout. I ended up having to work late and missed the gym. Here was the planned workout for you to enjoy today:

The friday work out. Probably the toughest work out because you never want to go. I know I’m always ready to get out of work as fast as my legs will allow for on Friday. But, the wedding bootcamp mentality is starting to set it. No pain, no gain right? Here’s another workout designed to make you work up a sweat and get an amazing upper body.

As per usual, workout is in a circuit format and intended to be performed 2 – 3 times through. Each move should be completed in succession with little to no rest in between. At the end, there is an AB HIIT. For the HIIT, you will perform each move for 30 seconds, rest for 30sec and move to the next move. It sucks, but your body will be thanking you over the weekend!


  • Overhead Squats
    x 15, add a weighted bar if you’re feeling adventurous! I know Amanda will be
  • Bunny Hop
    x across the gym room there and back or 50 hops
  • Side Lunge
    x 10 each side, with 45lb bar
  • Jump over Bench
    For 30 seconds
  • Dead Lift
    x 15 with the 45lb bar
  • Roundhouse Kick with Lunge, check min 1:15
    x 10 each side
Overhead Squat
Ab Jump over Bench
Dead Lift

30s work, 30s rest. Repeat the circuit 3 times.

Oblique Roll
Kick Ups

Sweat and Enjoy!


The Forgotten Workout

Hi everyone! I performed this workout last Friday but just didn’t have time to post this over the weekend. It got lost somewhere in the wedding to do list pile… However, my mistake is really your benefit because this week we’ll be posting 4 (FOUR) workouts. 😀 I didn’t have too much time on Friday, and I was by myself, so I put together something quick and easy. Exactly the way I want to start my weekend!

As per usual, workout is in a circuit format and intended to be performed 2 – 3 times through. Each move should be completed in succession with little to no rest in between. At the end, there is an extra tabata finish. Each move for the tabata is to be performed for 30 seconds with 30 seconds rest in between moves. Try to give it your all at the end!


  • Around the World
    x 10 with 5 – 8lbs
  • Burpees with Pushups
    x 10, jump HIGH
  • Curls and Forearm Curls
    x 10 each with 25 lb bar
  • Bent over Row
    x 10 with 25 lb bar
  • Declined abs with 8lb medicine ball, hold ball high at the top
    x 10
  • Rowing Machine
Around the World
Reverse Curls
Declined Abs with Medicine Ball

30s work, 30s rest. Repeat the circuit 3 times.

  • Curtsey Kicks, check out at 0:45
  • Jump Lunges
  • Butt Bridge
  • Spider Push Ups
Butt Bridge
Spider Push Up

Sweat and Enjoy!


Fitnessista’s Rainy Day Workout

Today, we’ll try Fitnessista’s Rainy Day Workout.  I just love that she makes up these workouts for us, and I don’t have to do any other work.  You can see her post for details on each move, but here’s a nice map of all of the moves, for reference.

CIRCUIT (complete 3 rounds)

1.  Walking lunge and twist with 10-lb dumbbell (x20 steps — i.e. 10 on each leg)

2. Bicep curl countdown (10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-10!), 8-lb dumbbells

3. Plie squat and upright row, 10-lb dumbbell (x15)

4. Substitute a Tabata Set (see below).

5. Tricep dips, on a bench instead of on the floor, and with straight legs (x10)

6. Switch kicks (aka Crab Kicks), 30 seconds

7. Renegade Row, 8-lb dumbbells (x5 each side)

8. Weighted Burpees, 8-lb dumbbells (x10)

9. Substitute Regular Pushups (pushups on dumbbells hurt my hands/wrists! you?) (x15)

The Tabata Set to do in #4:

Remember, a Tabata set is 4 minutes long.  20 seconds on the first exercise, then 10 seconds of rest before you move to the next exercise for the next 20 seconds.  You’ll go through the tabata set twice on each round of the circuit. I promise a significant calorie burn.

Now, let’s go kick some ass.


Full Body + Ab HIIT

Hi everyone. A little more about me (kara): I am getting married next summer and the realization that it’s less than a year away is starting to sink in. In addition to my mounting “to do” list of activities for my wedding, one of my goals is to get into shape and be serious about sticking to my work out schedule. I’m not going to be doing anything crazy or try any new diets. I am going to stick to three days a week as best I can and continue exploring more healthy eating options (more food ideas soon!). Last night’s workout is in the circuit form intended to be performed 2 – 3 times through with a HIIT finish.


Ab Reach
High Knees
Butt Kicks

30s work, 30s rest. Repeat the circuit 3 times.

Crab Kicks
Plank Oblique Twists

Sweat and Enjoy!


Wednesday Circuit of Doom

This workout is going to be tough.  It’s a long-ass circuit (11 moves).  And I’m going to lobby for doing it four times, with no HIITs or Tabatas at the end.  Just one, long, grueling, never-ending circuit of doom.  I think this will be just the challenge I need.  I have been so busy lately, and traveling a lot, so I haven’t been good about working out. And I know I won’t get another chance until Monday, and that’s a long way from today.  So I’m ok with being sore.  I wonder how my workout buddies will feel about that…  I’ll let you know if I’ve incited a gym rebellion.

Lateral hop and squat jump (x5 in each direction).  Take a small hop to your right, a brief pause, then sink into a squat.  Jump up from the squat and once you land, hop to your left, and repeat.

Side plank with outer leg raise (x10 each side).

Side Plank with Leg Raises. Image from Fitness Guru Training.

Bent-over reverse flyes (x10). 10-lb dumbbells.

Bent-over reverse flye. Image from Women’s Health.

Reverse lunge with rear leg raise  (x10 each leg).  Holding two 10-lb dumbbells, step backward with your right foot, into a lunge.  As you come back up to standing, raise that right leg up behind you, bringing it as close to parallel to the floor as you feel comfortable with (don’t strain with your back).

Side-to-side sumo squats with a jump on each side (x5 in each direction).  With your right foot, step to the right into a wide sumo squat. Come back up to standing on the right, and jump vertically with your arms overhead.  Now sumo squat to the left, jump vertically, and repeat.

Bench press with dumbbells, 40-50 lbs total (x10)

Jumping oblique twists (30 seconds)

Side-to-side supermans (“back bows”) over a yoga block. (x10 each side)

Jumping Jacks (30 seconds)

Overhead Tricep presses 15-20 lbs, (x10).

Sliding abs with towels (x10). Start in a plank with your feet on towels. As smoothly as possible (it’s HARD), drag your legs wide, and bring your butt up.  At the top of the movement, start bringing your legs back together and your butt down, to end in a crouch.  Now do the reverse of that movement to get back to plank.  That’s one rep.

Sliding Abs

You should hear the maniacal laughter in my head right now.  Even I don’t know what I’m in for…