Oatie Almond Butter Bites

oatey almond butter bites pretty

Some nights I come home from work totally in the mood to create something yummy in the kitchen…last night was one of those nights. The result: oatie almond butter bites! Also known as the most perfect pre-workout or mid-morning snack. Not to mention they are vegan, gluten-free, and use no sugar!

What you’ll need:

-2 very ripe bananas, mashed
-2 cups rolled oats
-1.5 tbsp. virgin coconut oil
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tbsp. chia seeds
-1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
-almond butter to put on top of bites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly blend the oats for a few seconds-there should still be whole oats in the blender. I literally turned my blender on and right back off. Pour the oats into a bowl and set aside.

Put the bananas in the blender. Add in coconut oil & vanilla. Blend. Pour mixture into the bowl with oats & stir.

Stir in chia seeds & coconut.

Scoop cookies out onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Make a little crater in the center of the cookie. I used my thumb! Spoon in some almond butter. I placed approximately 1 teaspoon in each cookie.

Place in the oven & bake for 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Voila!

oatey almond butter bites
They look almost as good as they taste!

Fridge staple: Vegan Pesto (recipe!)

pesto

This pesto is so good it’ll knock your socks off. Seriously though.

Back when I was eating dairy, I loved eating pesto on pretty much everything. One problem: the pesto i used to buy definitely has cheese (and who knows what else) in it, so I had to (and totally needed to) give it up.

I immediately set out to create a pesto that was still creamy, delicious, and simple but had no cheese in it. This one is perfect.

What you’ll need:

pesto ingreds

-1 cup fresh basil leaves
-1 clove garlic (minced)
-3/4 cup cashews
-2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
-juice from 1 lemon
-1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

Place all ingreds in a blender and blend until smooth. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. The longest mine has lasted in the fridge is a week and a half, not because it went bad, but because I ate it all.

Seriously try it! You won’t regret it.

Living the good life, without dairy

dairy-free

So why no dairy?

I’ve gotten this question a lot in the past month since I eliminated dairy from my diet. There are a lot of good reasons to do so: clear skin, healthier digestion, weight loss, stronger bones, and the most important for me; preventing dairy allergy reactions.

To give you some background, I’ve suffered from allergies for years (the congested, runny nose, watery eyes kind of allergies) off and on. I’ve always blamed it on cottonwood, dusts, and molds, and take allergy medicine every day during the times of the year those allergens are high. I even have nose spray to help combat the (only) allergies I thought I had. Each year they’ve gotten worse. This year, I’ve taken allergy medicine every day from the spring all the way until September. I hate taking medicine; so needless to say, popping allergy meds daily gets old quick. I also wasn’t excited about the mid-morning stomach-ache I kept experiencing every day I ate yogurt for breakfast.

I already don’t do gluten because of a previously diagnosed allergy, and since it’s common for gluten and dairy allergies to go hand-in-hand, I started doing some research to see what the symptoms of a dairy allergy even are. Turns out there are three outlets the body uses to react to a dairy allergy:

-The skin (red rash, hives, or swelling of the lips, mouth, face, etc.)

-The digestive tract (abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, etc.)

-The respiratory system (runny nose, congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, etc.)

That’s all I needed to read. I decided the following day would be my first day sans all dairy. Within the first two days I noticed a huge difference and continue to feel so much better.  I wake up with none of the congestion I was previously experiencing. The headaches, sneezing, and watery eyes are gone and so is my need for allergy medicine. (Yay!)

So what do I use to replace dairy? Well, I use almond milk in my oatmeal & smoothies. I eat coconut milk ice cream when I want a treat. For cheese, I really like Daiya brand mozzarella-style shreds. Nutritional yeast is a big pantry staple too. I also make my own cashew cheese and cashew parmesan (recipes coming soon for both of those!) I use ghee instead of normal butter, which is actually just butter with the milk solids removed, so it doesn’t have casein (a milk protein) or lactose (a milk sugar) both of which are difficult for people with a dairy allergy to digest.  With the minimally processed, gluten-free diet I already eat, I read the labels of any packaged food I do eat and make sure it’s free of dairy. Since dairy is a common allergen, it will be listed in bold at the bottom of the ingredients too, just in case label-reading isn’t your thing.

So where does that leave me? Am I anti-dairy? Not at all! Even though I’ve seen a huge difference in the way I feel myself, every person is different. Some people get along fine with dairy, others (like me) don’t. That’s okay. It’s important to always do what works best for you. However, I do think it’s important to get organic, minimally processed dairy if it’s a staple in your diet.

What’s your experience with dairy?  I want to hear your thoughts!

Can’t Live Without: Veggetti Edition

vegetti
For the first Hearts on a String edition of Can’t Live Without I just have to talk about my current kitchen obsession. When I say obsession, I mean I use this thing every single day. Zucchini noodles every lunch for the past month. I just can’t help it. A few days I’ve had the same thing for dinner too! Quite literally, obsessed.

The Veggetti.

Before finding this amazing little gadget, I spent some time shopping around for a spiralizer so I could experience the zoodle craze first hand. Luckily, I found this little guy (at Kohls, none the less!) for $14.99 before I took the plunge on buying a spiralizer machine.

So amazing.

Now, I have to admit-the name is a little weird. I get funny looks every single time I tell someone about this little life-changer. I have to explain, “it turns vegetables into spaghetti…hence the name Veggetti.” It’s pretty comical, but it’s too amazing to care about something as trivial as a name!

As soon as I got home, I ripped it out of the packaging and got right to making zoodles. The rest is history.

spiralized noodles

The above picture is my lunch every day since the glorious day I found my Veggetti. I love to top my noodles with fresh vegetables, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, garlic, & sea salt, then top it with some homemade vegan pesto. So perfect.

I love this little gadget so much that I really don’t have anything negative to say about it. After I’m done using it, I brush the little blades with a toothbrush (I got one just for that reason) and some soap. Rinse it off & that’s it!

Since my lucky Kohl’s find, I’ve seen it at Target and of course they have it on good ole’ Amazon too. Check it out here.

Have you tried “zoodles” yet? If so, what’s your favorite way to top them? I wanna know!

Pumpkin Almond Butter Bars (Vegan & Gluten-free)

pumpkin almond butter bars

I’ve been completely obsessed with bars lately. Dessert bars, breakfast bars, granola bars….bring on all of the bar recipes, which also means lots of experimenting of my own. My goal for this recipe was a versatile bar that I could eat for breakfast or for dessert if I wanted something sweet without completely sabotaging my day. This is it! It’s so perfect-slightly sweet, and a perfect gooey bar consistency. Here’s what I used:

pumpkin almond butter ingreds

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend all of the ingredients (minus the oats & chocolate chips) in a blender. After blended, add a cup of the oats and blend. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining cup of oats & stir. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips (or omit the chocolate chips if you’d like-the bars are delicious either way!) Pour batter into a dark, greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown along the edges. Let cool before cutting. Store in the fridge!

This bar is gluten-free, vegan, & uses coconut palm sugar which has a low glycemic index & is diabetic friendly.

Welcome to Hearts on a String!

hearts on a string

Well, the time has come to change my blog name & revamp its appearance. Although I still love running & will continue to talk about running from time to time, I’ve found a real love for lots of different “lifestyle” things. I’ve been posting recipes/ life happenings from time to time already & could have continued under the “Lyndsay Runs” name, but I wanted to change it to reflect my want to increase sharing all of the things I love with all of you, in addition to running/race recaps. I’m super excited about this change! I have so many awesome things to post in the near future.

I thought long & hard about a name that would reflect what I want this blog to be about. ‘Hearts on a String” is a metaphor to me of all of the things I love- healthy recipes, running, fashion, design…the list goes on and on & will forever be evolving.  I hope you enjoy all of the new things I’ll be posting!

xo

Lyndsay

P.S. I plan on keeping my Instagram name @lyndsayruns :)

Indianapolis Half Marathon Race Recap.

indy half october 18

Time: 1:49:36
Pace: 8:22

Half marathon number 12 is in the books! This was a race PR for me and although I’m pleased with my time, I definitely feel like I could have pushed harder towards the end.

First of all, this course was so much hillier than I remember. (I ran it last year too.) I felt really good until mile 10, were there were several huge hills in a row, which took all I had to keep running. The last 3 miles my pace slowed considerably to around 8:40 pace, as compared to the 8:10ish pace I had been running the first 10 miles. The last 3 miles were brutal and I was so so happy to cross that finish line.

I PR’ed by almost 6 minutes from my spring half marathons, which makes me super happy. I improved my time on this course by almost 15 minutes (Last year’s time was around 2:04), which is awesome. So all in all, I’d call this race a successful one.

Now to plan my 2015 race schedule…