Invigorating Latte Oatmeal

 

I think one of my greatest weaknesses in life may be my intolerance for coffee. I love the way it tastes, and there are definitely times when I would appreciate the caffeine buzz, but unfortunately coffee just makes me feel jittery and slightly nauseous.

Even though I know I don’t like how coffee makes me feel, I continue to order lattes or cold brew once in a while, always promising myself “this time will be different.”

The other day I went out for coffee with a friend before school and ordered a chai flavored cold brew. It was delicious and I felt very trendy, but before I even finished my drink I could feel the effects. For the entire class I had to fight the urge to laugh hysterically as I frantically googled whether coffee could kill me (yeaahhh I may be a bit of a hypochondriac). The jumpy feeling passed quickly, but the experience was uncomfortable enough to keep me away from coffee for a while.

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This recipe is the perfect middle ground in my love-hate relationship with coffee. The small quantity of coffee imparts all the flavor I love without the discomfort I experience from caffeine, and the heartiness of the oats cures my usual coffee-induced queasiness and packs a nutritional punch. Anyone else have a star-crossed coffee love story? What are your solutions?

Latte Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup quick cook oats
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbs freshly brewed coffee
  • 1/2 tbs maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Cook oatmeal on the stovetop according to package instructions.
  2. While oatmeal cooks, pour milk into a glass jar and microwave for 45 seconds.
  3. Remove jar from microwave, screw on lid, and shake vigorously for  about 60 seconds. (If jar is too hot to hold, wrap in dish towel before shaking)
  4. Once milk becomes frothy, pour into oats (which should remain on the stove) , and stir gently.
  5. Stir freshly brewed coffee into oats and allow to cook for another minute before serving.
  6. Drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy.

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Restorative Banana Muffins

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These muffins are restorative in so many ways. First of all, the whole wheat flour, natural sweetener, and immune boosting spices make them perfect for a physical health boost. Bananas also provide numerous health benefits, as detailed in this article from Well Being Secrets. More importantly, the comforting aroma, classic flavor, and relaxing baking process are SO emotionally restorative, especially after a long week.

For me, the past week was a hard one. I failed a math quiz I thought I’d done well on, I missed an important appointment, I double-booked myself by mistake, and I just felt off my game. But looking back it’s so amazing to see how many wonderful moments there are even in the hardest of times.

When my best friend heard my quivery voice over the phone after a particularly rough day, she was at my house (with snacks) within 15 minutes. A classmate I’ve been wanting to get to know better made me laugh with a silly pep talk when I was sad about my bad grade. My parents told me time after time that they love me and are proud of me, no matter how many “off weeks” I have. I need to remember it’s important to struggle sometimes, because that’s when you see how many people are there for you, and it’s when you can see how much you’ve grown.

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Honestly, the most grown up moment of my week was probably eating ice cream for dinner last night. The truth to that statement is both sad and wonderful, but I choose to celebrate it. Enjoying a drippy cone piled high with strawberry ice cream (the guy serving gave me an extra scoop- according to my dad he was flirting with me?? I’m completely clueless) on a warm fall evening is absolutely a decision to be proud of. Now I’m ready to take the weekend to rest, reset, study hard, and, of course, spend some quality time in the kitchen.

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Though it is the season for all things pumpkin, banana bread is one of my ultimate comfort foods. These muffins are simple, moist and delicious. Despite the healthy-ish twist, the classic flavors are all there, perfectly comforting and cozy. I’m not going to say you have to make the crumble topping, but you’d have to give me a reeeeally good reason not to. Turmeric and cinnamon are awesome additions due to their anti-inflammatory, immune boosting benefits, but if you don’t have them on hand you could absolutely substitute other spices.

Restorative Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

Muffins

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup (or use ½ cup if you prefer sweeter muffins)

Crumble

  • 1 tbs whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a muffin tin.
  2. Mash 1 banana in medium mixing bowl
  3. Cut second banana into coins, then cut each coin into fourths and add to bowl.
  4. Gently mix in wet ingredients (syrup, milk, eggs).
  5. Add in flours, baking soda, and baking powder, stirring continually.
  6. Once ingredients are thoroughly combined, scoop batter into muffin tin (I recommend using an ice cream scooper).
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. While muffins are baking, make crumble.
  9. Combine crumble ingredients in a small bowl and stir until clumps form.
  10. Pull muffins out of the oven, top with crumble, then return to oven for 30-45 minutes.

Hope you enjoy these as much as my family and I did.

Much love,

K

Self Care & Good Fare

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I recently reformatted my blog and added the tagline “Self care & good fare” to describe my values for this space. Over the past few weeks I’ve been struggling to balance recipe posts with lifestyle posts, so I’ve decided to let my blog follow it’s heart and evolve into more of a food blog. Making up recipes is so much fun and it fits really well with my lifestyle right now.

As far as food values, I don’t follow any particular diet, and I believe a healthy lifestyle means enjoying all foods in moderation. I do believe in eating plant based foods as much as possible, as I do not support the practices of factory farming, but I also realize diets such as veganism and vegetarianism are not possible for everyone. I plan to post recipes that will suit a range of diets, and I firmly believe in experimenting to figure out what works best for you. I have so much fun trying new products (can I please live at Whole Foods?) and playing around in the kitchen, so I’m beyond thrilled I get to continue sharing my passion with you all.

At the same time, I think many people, myself included, can easily become overly fixated on food. We get too bogged down worrying we’re eating “too much of this” of “not enough of that” and we stop enjoying the process of cooking, eating, and sharing food. Food is awesome. It’s delicious and fun and fuel for our busy lives. I am so excited to create good fare for myself, my family, and all of you. However, balance is still essential.

So in an effort to remind myself (and any of you if you need it) that food is not everything, this blog is also about self care. I’ll be sharing how I take care of myself, from organization to relaxation, especially when life gets busy and stressful, and I’d be happy to receive input from you all about the kinds of self care advice you need. If there’s anything you’d like me to post about, please fill out the form on my contact page or message me on Instagram.

 

Much love,

K

Honey Lemon Pancakes

I am officially a pancake convert. I’ve never been anti-pancake, per-say, but I am definitely someone who would choose waffles/avocado toast/yogurt and granola/oatmeal over pancakes every time. (Can you tell I’m a breakfast person?)

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Fortunately, this all changed when these slightly sweet, light, tender, perfect pancakes fell onto my plate, covered in a cascade of fresh, ripe, end of summer strawberries. They fit my checklist of a perfect pancake in every way. The nutty whole wheat flavor I love is definitely present, but somehow the pancakes still retain an airy tenderness. The pancakes are protein packed (12 grams for the recipe!), but without any of the odd flavor I find “protein pancakes” sometimes have. The honey-lemon flavor is subtle but essential, making these pancakes the perfect last hurrah for summer flavors.

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Considering I basically just wrote an ode to pancakes, I think it’s pretty obvious how much I adore them. These pancakes come together in no time, so while they are the quintessential slow, lazy weekend breakfast, I’m sure you could also whip some up when you want something special before work/school. And yes, I would absolutely wake up early to make these. They’re THAT GOOD.

If you do any one thing for yourself this weekend, it should definitely be making these pancakes (preferably in your bathrobe, while playing your favorite peaceful music/podcast, after sleeping in for a couple extra hours).

Honey Lemon Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbs greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ¼ cup wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbs sparkling water

Directions

  1. Combine egg and yogurt in a small bowl and mix until smooth and custard-like in appearance.
  2. Add in lemon juice and honey, then stir until incorporated completely.
  3. Gently fold in flour until mixture is smooth and uniform.
  4. Combine sparkling water and baking soda in a separate bowl. Once the mixture begins to fizz, stir it into the pancake batter.
  5. Set greased pan over high heat
  6. After about 30 seconds, begin adding ¼ cup batter to pan until all the batter has been used. (Should make four medium sized pancakes)
  7. Cloak with strawberries, drizzle with syrup, and enjoy!

Now that my love for pancakes has been activated, I’d love to hear all your favorite recipes! And if you make these, I’d love to hear about that too! Basically, just share all your pancake adventures with me on  Instagram or in the comments. Have a great weekend <3

Get Excited for Fall

For me, loving summer is so easy. Being happy and having fun comes naturally when I’m surrounded by sun and friends, without a single essay to write or math problem to complete. In the summer, I’m a more fun, more relaxed version of myself.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed how stressed and uptight I’ve become since going back to school. I having a feeling being so preoccupied and tense makes me less pleasant to be around, and it certainly diminishes the amount of fun I have in my day to day life.

To remedy my autumn blues, I’ve created a list of all the fun things I can do in fall. I can’t wait to reconnect with my relaxed, spontaneous side as I work my way through this list, and I hope it inspires you too!

  • 1st up, fall food!! Personally, I think the warm, cozy vibes of fall make it the best season for food. Hell yes to pumpkin spice everything!
    • Visit your favorite coffee shop whenever possible. Honestly, I don’t even like coffee (tea lattes all the way), but as the weather gets colder there’s nothing like a hot drink and the comfy atmosphere of your favorite café.
    • Buy yourself some fancy tea. For those days when you’re craving something hot and comforting, but don’t have the time/motivation/money to go get one, having a box of luxurious, fall flavored tea on hand is essential. I have a weakness for chai teas, so those are a fall staple, but I’ve also been wanting to try out an apple cinnamon tea to mix it up a little. And if you’re more of a classic tea person, you can never go wrong with a good Earl Grey.
    • I adore pumpkin bread, and love testing out new recipes. This year I’m planning to try Cookie and Kate’s Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread, which sneaks in a little nutrition to help keep us warm through those frigid fall days.
    • For those moments when one is a bit overwhelmed by the pumpkin-ness of fall, but still craving a seasonal treat, Pinch of Yum’s Gingerbread Mini Donuts are there to save the day. I have a donut pan that I haven’t used in ages, and I can’t wait to make these for a Sunday brunch with family or friends.
    • I’m not sure I’m a skilled enough baker to try this recipe, but I’ve been intrigued by the idea of homemade bagels for ages, and Inquiring Chef’s Pumpkin Spice Bagels look divine. If you’re able to pull this off, please send me some! (Until then I’ll be counting the days until pumpkin bagels become available at my local bakery.)
  • Fall style is awesome style. Easy and comfy are the way to go, and everyone looks adorable in a big sweater (yes, you definitely do. this is a fact).
    • Fuzzy socks are so important. When I’m feeling down, pulling on a soft, oversized, colorful pair of socks always makes me feel better.
    • When I want to feel cute but don’t have the time or energy to put together a complicated outfit, oversized sweaters are my go-tos.
    • Boots!! I have way too many pairs, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting more. I buy most of my boots at thrift stores, but I also love the styles from Steve Madden and Cole Haan.
  • Trying to incorporate new experiences and adventures into my routine helps keep life fun and exciting. Involving other people in these activities is also a great way to reconnect with old friends or create new relationships. This is my “bucket list” for fall!
    • Pick apples
    • Complete a school/work project you’re really proud of
    • Go for a walk and try to capture something quintessentially fall in a photo, a drawing, or in writing.
    • In the spirit of back to school, try a new workout/art/language/cooking class.
    • Watch your favorite childhood movie
    • Carve a pumpkin
    • Create an awesome DIY Halloween costume
    • Prioritize self care. When life starts moving quickly, it can be hard to remember to take time for yourself. Practice mindfulness and relaxation with the strategies from De-stress in 15 Minutes or Less (my first blog post!)

If any of these ideas inspire you, share your adventures with me on Instagram @16goingon60. Have a great beginning of fall!

10 Steps to Wardrobe Bliss

A step by step guide to awesome style

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  1. Sort. Remove all your clothes from your closet/dresser and sort them into the piles: clothes you love, clothes you hate, and practical-but-uninspiring.
  2. Test drive. Try on the clothes you love and make sure they fit well and are relatively versatile. Also try on the practical-but-uninspiring clothes and see if you can find a fun new way to style something you thought was boring. After you try on the clothes, reassess your piles and make changes if needed.
  3. Be discerning. Go through the “love” clothes one last time and make sure you would truly feel good in any of those items.
  4. Cleanse. Donate the clothes you hate, pack away the practical-but-uninspiring clothes, and return the items you love to your dresser in organized piles.
  5. Organize. Sort your remaining tops into piles of sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, and tank tops. Sort your bottoms into piles of skirts, shorts, leggings, and jeans. Ideally, each pile should have about the same number of clothes (anywhere from 3-5 items per pile is ideal)
  6. Swap. Ask a parent, sibling, or friend if they have any clothes they’re planning on giving away and suggest you shop through each other’s “donate” piles.
  7. Budget. If you still find yourself in need of a mall trip (or online shopping splurge), create a shopping list based on what you feel your wardrobe is missing and specify how much you intend to spend on each item.
  8. List. Once you have all the clothes you need, make a list of every item of clothing in your wardrobe, including dresses, jackets and shoes.
  9. Plan. Every weekend, look through the list and create an outfit for each day of the week. Make sure that everything you’ll need (including socks + underwear) is clean and in your closet before Monday morning.
  10. Prep. Before bed, lay out every item of clothing you intend to wear the next day.

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I used this system to get my wardrobe into shape recently, and I’ve been loving the results. I feel more confident in my clothes, I get more compliments on my outfits, and there is waaaayy less hassle involved in getting out the door. I really hope you try this, it’s life changing! And if you have any style tips of your own to share, by all means PLEASE send them my way. (I really need them)

xo,

K

Kick Butt Morning Routine

For as long as I can remember, my family has struggled with getting out the door on time. If we decide to go to the park at 12, we’ll end up leaving at 1:30. Going out for dinner at 6? Yeah right. I know I won’t be eating until 7:30. While this tendency is mildly irritating when it comes to day trips or dinner plans, the place where it’s really an issue is school.

Surprisingly, I’m rarely late to school, but most days I do sprint through the doors at the last possible second. Not a great start to the day. This year, in search of a more relaxed morning, I tried to identify what tends to make me late and see what I could do to solve those issues.

I realized the main reason I was always late was that I didn’t have a schedule to keep me focused and on track. I get distracted ridiculously easily, and I often find myself needing to leave for school in 10 minutes with no idea where all the time went.

If any of this sounds even a little familiar, you should definitely try this plan. I’ve been using it for the past week, and I swear it has been world-changing. Instead of beginning my days with a mad rush out the door, my morning routine sets a productive, relaxed, and organized tone for the day.

My Morning Routine

6:00 wake up, put on workout gear (or sleep in athletic shorts + t-shirt for a crazy efficient morning)

6:00 – 6:30 your favorite half hour workout! I suggest this one or a Nike Training Club workout. I like working out in the mornings because that’s when I have the most time and energy, but if it’s not for you I’d suggest using the extra time to catch up/get a head start on work for the day or one of those personal projects you never have time for (like blogging!).

6:30 – 6:45 Rinse off, brush teeth, wash face

6:45 – 7:00 Hair and makeup – Honestly, I’m so clueless here, but I’m on a mission to learn as much as possible and I’ll be sure to report back with my findings soon.

7:00 – 7:15 Get dressed – looking your best in 15 minutes may seem like quite a challenge, but I’ll be posting my favorite style strategies this week, so stay tuned!

7:15 Did you think I forgot about breakfast? No way.  It is an essential part of my day, so I’d definitely recommend taking an easy grab and go option for the road. Some of my favorite easy breakfasts are smoothies, overnight oats (my favorite recipe!), and avocado toast.

 

I have to be out the door by 7:15 every day, and the times I include reflect that. However, I think this plan could suit anyone looking for a low maintenance morning routine. I would simply adjust for your needs by waking up an hour and 15 minutes before you need to be out the door.

If you try this, let me know how it goes on Instagram (@16goingon60) using #16kicksbutt

Weekend Wish List

In all the excitement of getting ready for school, I haven’t had time to complete any real blog posts for this week. I have tons of fun stuff that’s almost ready, but for now I thought I’d just pop in to share my “weekend wish list.” Inspired by ImmaEatThat and Chickpea in the City, this is a compilation of the recipes, products, and activities I’ve been loving recently, as well as those I hope to try in the near future.

 

I’m Loving:

  • Raw Chocolate Chip Bars by Rachel Mansfield
    • I posted about these on Instagram a couple weeks ago, and ever since then I have been in love. Today I found myself practically licking the bowl (er, food processor) after I made a batch. Even my sugar-loving little brother begs me to make them for him.
  • Larabars
    • Obviously I can have multiple favorite bars at a time, and considering I scored a box of 16 peanut butter cookie Larabars off Amazon for 12 dollars (best deal ever!!), I don’t think I’ll be getting over these anytime soon.
  • Sriracha Hummus
    • The Sriracha hummus from Trader Joe’s. I know I’m late to the party, but this stuff is so good I’m not even mad. If you’re (fashionably) late too, PLEASE go get some and join my hummus party.
  • Chloé jeans (my latest thrift store finds)
    • The other day I tried on about 20 pairs of thrift store jeans searching for a pair that would make me feel special and beautiful and awesome. Just when I was about to give up hope, I found the most incredible pair. Since they’re second hand they’re waaayyy less expensive than regular Chloé jeans, and they make me feel on top of the world.
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle by Cake
    • My friend was playing this song the other day and it made me laugh so hard. I showed it to my dad and apparently it’s one of his favorites too, so obviously I now feel very cool. (Not even being sarcastic- he has great taste in music)
  • Nike+ Training App
    • This app is like having a free personal trainer on my phone. The quick workouts are super easy to fit into my schedule, and the customized plan is unbeatable.
  • The Moth Podcast
    • The funniest, sweetest, most heartwarming stories. This podcast has made me laugh and cry, and it is an amazing way to replace Netflix once in awhile.
  • This article on building a food Instagram and this article on photography
    • While my blog, and corresponding Instagram, are not only about food, recipes and healthy eating are definitely a focus, and I am finding both of these articles extremely helpful as I work to improve my content.

 

I’m Wishing For:

  • Lola Granola Bars + Squarebars
    • Someone please send me truckloads of these bars. Help fuel my granola bar addiction. My obsession with all bars is pretty intense, so when I say these are the best, you can trust me. I know what I’m talking about. While these are too expensive for me to buy often, they’re my go-tos when I want to treat myself.
  • Lunchbots Grown Up Lunch Box
    • The @srunsforcake Instagram feed will forever be my packed lunch goals, and while my school meals may never reach that level of perfection, packing healthy lunches would be so easy and fun with these bento-style boxes.
  • Jordana Eyeliner
    • Liquid Eyeliner??? For under 3$??? Sign me up! I’ve never owned liquid eyeliner before, and honestly I’m not really one to invest in makeup, so this product seems like the perfect, low commitment way to test out the fancy eyeliner trend.
  • Pressed Freeze
    • I’ve been seeing Pressed Juicery’s soft-serve “ice cream” all over Instagram, and I am SO jealous. Hopefully I’ll get to try some eventually, but so far it isn’t sold near me. In the meantime, I’m excited to try Pinch of Yum’s Peanut Butter Nice Cream and Açaí Bowls by Kitchen Confidante to take the edge off my craving.
  • A cute backpack
    • Unfortunately I can’t even list a specific product here because I haven’t been able to find one that looks nice and will still fit all my school shiz.
  • The Bar Method
    • While most boutique fitness classes are way out of my price range, so much so that I’ve never actually been to one,  I’m completely obsessed with them. I think I’d feel so cool walking out of some trendy studio, post-picture perfect workout, on my way to buy a green juice. I know this image probably isn’t entirely accurate, but The Bar Method’s memberships are so affordable I might get the chance to find out!
  • Me Before You
    • Come out on Amazon already!! I missed seeing this in the theater, and I’m embarrassed by how badly I want to see it. (You won’t judge, right?)
  • Homemade Chai Latte
    • As you know, my latte love is intense (perhaps the most serious relationship in my life at the moment), so I can’t wait to try this plant powered, DIY recipe.

This is the stuff that’s been getting me through all the stress of back to school season. I feel like we forget often forget to have fun and treat ourselves when life becomes more challenging, but i believe those times are when it’s most important to practice self care. As always, I’d love to know what items are on your weekend wish list- comment here or go visit me on Instagram!

Vegan Breakfast Cookies

How do you feel about vegetables? Honestly. Not what you think you should say, or what you’d like to say, but how you really feel. Because if, by any chance, you’re feeling a little “meh” on the veggies, I’m right there with you. I like eating my greens, but they’re not making my top 10 favorite foods list anytime soon.

Most days, I’m pretty sure I don’t get anywhere near my recommended daily veg intake. Honestly, I’m not too worried because I believe strongly in trusting my body and avoiding food rules as much as possible. When it comes to my diet, I try my best to follow an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. To me, this just means that as long as I’m feeling healthy and happy, there’s no point in trying to “perfect” my diet.

That being said, I think there is absolutely value in a balanced diet, and I do strive to enjoy summer’s beautiful produce whenever possible.

I’m visiting my grandparents at the moment, and they have a gorgeous garden in their yard that floods the house with fresh tomatoes and zucchini on a daily basis. Every day we harvest multiple massive zucchini, so my whole family has been busy eating it as fast as we possibly can. Naturally, when I began brainstorming recipes I knew I needed to give everyone a break and try to find a use for all that zucchini.

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My first thought was zucchini bread, because I’m currently on the hunt for easy make-ahead breakfasts to enjoy during the school year (if you have any suggestions let me know!).

Unfortunately, this idea had three problems. 1) Zucchini bread is pretty basic, and I wanted to shake things up a little. 2) I wanted something I could eat on the road, and breads aren’t always the most portable. 3) While I’m not vegan, I prefer to eat plant-based meals as much as possible, and I’ve struggled with making vegan quick breads in the past.

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Kudos to agave for making vegan baking 100x easier

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In the end, I landed on the idea of zucchini cookies and I’m so incredibly glad I did. These cookies are actual magic. After I came up with a recipe, I thought I’d need a hundred test runs to perfect them, but they came out perfect on the first go! The cookie gods are clearly smiling upon me:) Somehow all the flavor and texture of classic zucchini bread got baked into healthy, portable breakfast cookies. It truly is a dream come true. They taste incredible, are packed with whole food, amazing-for-you (vegan!!) ingredients, and can be whipped up in about 30 minutes.

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Zucchini Breakfast Cookies

Makes 10 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup zucchini*

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup almond meal

⅔ cup rolled oats

½ cup nut milk of choice

¼ cup olive oil (can sub melted coconut oil)

1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

⅓ cup agave

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease baking sheet.
  2. Shred zucchini, then wrap in a clean cloth and squeeze out excess moisture.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine nut milk, agave, olive oil, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir until combined.
  4. Stir almond meal and oats into the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly. It’s ok if the mixture still looks a little too wet, as the zucchini and walnuts will help it firm up.
  5. Gently fold zucchini, walnuts, and chia seeds (if using) into the batter. At this point the batter should be thick and hold together well.
  6. Scoop up small balls of batter and press them onto the baking sheet until they form circles about 3” in diameter.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. I prefer my cookies softer, so I only baked them for about 15 minutes, but it all depends on personal preference. Once they are done baking, do your best to resist the urge to grab one straight out of the oven, as it is important to give them about 10 minutes to set (especially for softer cookies).

*Measure the zucchini after it has been shredded and squeezed dry.

Enjoy! If you make these, be sure to share them with me on instagram (@16goingon60) using #16bakes.

(End of) Summer Reading List

I love summer with every bit of my heart and soul. Summer is lazy 11am breakfast dates with friends in the middle of the week and singing so loud it hurts at concerts in the park. Summer is saltwater up my nose and the conviction that nothing tastes better than a slightly sandy PB&J after a long day at the beach. Summer is light, refreshing, al fresco dinners followed by ice cream cones the size of my face. Summer is my happy-time, and I know I’m not alone. Can we all start a petition for an extra month of summer? I’m not ready for everything to be over yet.

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What summer should be, Exhibit A

During the last few weeks of August, I often find myself torn between the desire to soak up every last second of summer and the need to prepare for the coming school year. Part of me wants to do nothing but lounge in the sun, sleep in, and spend time with family. At the same time, I feel the pressure to buy school supplies, get organized, and prepare for the classes I’ll be starting in the fall.  

Most often, I fail to take action either way and end up lounging by the pool worrying about how I should be taking a math refresher course or getting a head start on an article for journalism. I suppose this is my attempt to find balance, but I’m really just ending up with the worst of both worlds. I’m stressed and distracted, but I’m not actually getting any work done. 

This year, I wanted to make a change. My goal was to find a way to relish the last sun-streaked moments of summer while also easing back into academic-me (a very different person than summer-me). Personally, I think books are a wonderful way to make this transition.

I can’t be the only who reads a multitude of serious, educational books (most often for English class) during the year then binges on romance novels all summer. If it is just a me thing, don’t tell me. Let me live in denial. If I’m not the only one, perhaps we can form a support group. Anyways, I find switching from reading about romance and roses to reading about the policies Franklin Roosevelt can be a bit of a shock to my system.

Therefore, I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite “in-between” books. They are entertaining enough to make them truly enjoyable, while containing sufficient food for thought to help everyone ease back into their slightly more serious-minded, academic selves. Now everyone grab a book, hit the beach, and savor those last few moments of summer!

End of Summer Reading List

Americana By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Where’d You Go Bernadette By Maria Semple

Beauty Queens By Libba Bray

The Miseducation of Cameron Post By Emily M. Danforth

Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë

The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

When the Emperor was Divine By Julie Otsuka

My Beloved World By Sonia Sotomayor

Note: Any of these books would be wonderful choices, and I suggest you look into all of them. To be honest, I tried to provide descriptions but found I could not do these remarkable stories justice. I must admit, however, that I did list them in order of my own personal favorites, so, if in doubt, start at the top.