So I Married a Chef

Adventures in Baking Balanced with Exercise and Healthy Meals

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bark December 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 1:04 am

Why hello blog world!?!? I decided to resurrect my little blog due to an exciting recipe 🙂 About a week or so ago I got an idea for this:

Last year I made this recipe from Jessica (the oreo one)… and it was amazing. About a week or so ago I was trying to brainstorm ideas for my Christmas baking and remembered that bark. Then I thought about cookie dough…. Then I decided that it would be delicious to marry the two – oreo bark minus the oreos plus the cookie dough! I let the idea marinate for about a week and then on Saturday night, late, I decided to make it happen. What a good/bad decision. Good for my taste buds, bad for my waistline. Oh well, it’s the holiday season 🙂

Yeah… that nugget you see is most definitely cookie dough!!!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bark

Serves a lot! (or just me and my husband… over a few days)

Cookie Dough:
5 T butter, softenened
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 T sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
splash of milk – if needed

Cream the butter and sugars with a stand mixer. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the salt and flour and mix again until combined. If the dough is too dry add a splash of milk and mix again. Fold in the chocolate chips. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Break off little chunks of dough and place them on the prepared sheet. When all of the dough is chunked, pop the sheet tray in the freezer for about 15 min.

20 oz. good quality semisweet chocolate, chips or chopped
20 oz. good quality white chocolate, chips or chopped
1 batch of cookie dough, frozen

Line a 11×15 (half sheet) pan with wax paper. Melt 10 oz of the bittersweet chocolate either in a double boiler or the microwave. I just used the microwave. Spread over wax paper and top the chocolate with all of the cookie dough. Place the sheet tray in the freezer for 5 min. While the first layer is firming up, melt 10 oz of the white chocolate. This is quite messy, but spread the white chocolate around and on the cookie dough. Seriously, both of my hands were covered with chocolate and I couldn’t care less. Place the sheet tray in the freezer for 5 min. Then, melt the remaining dark chocolate and spread as best you can over the dough and chocolate. Place the sheet tray in the freezer for 5 min. Then, melt the remaining white chocolate and spread it as best you can over the dough and chocolate. Freeze for at least 30 min. When, break off chunks of the bark and eat save them in a container. I stored mine in a gallon ziplock in the freezer, but I’m sure the refrigerator would work too. Enjoy!!!!!


Caribbean Crunch Blondies May 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 11:08 am

Why hello!!???!!???  Hopefully there are still some of you out there that haven’t deleted me from your google reader 🙂 I truthfully haven’t cooked/baked anything blog worthy in MONTHS, so it feels good to be posting again. I’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier so the baking just hasn’t happened, and my meals are so on the fly and squeezed in that they are delicious and healthy, but not spectacular. Arizona is amazing, however. I am SO happy that we moved out here, and I finally feel adjusted and at home… until the 115 degree days this summer. Oh well, no snow at least! Anyway… I made these blondies to donate for Tina’s blogger bake sale, which I figured was the perfect reason so get the recipe up on the site! I made these all last summer for the farmers market and they are absolutely delicious!!! I describe them as rum spiked blondies packed with white chocolate, macadamia nuts, and toasted coconut.

I started, as always, with getting my ingredients out and measuring them for easy mixing and preheating the oven to 350*.

To toast the coconut, spread it in an even layer on a sheet pan (or the 9X13 you are baking these bars in to keep the dirty dishes down). Then, put the pan in your preheated oven.

I usually set my timer for three minutes, stir, three more minutes, stir, etc. until the coconut gets golden/light brown. The toasting happens fast, so short intervals in the oven are key!  When it starts to look toasty, set it for 1-2 minutes so that you don’t burn!

While the coconut is toasting, cut up the butter and place it in a microwave safe dish.

Microwave on high for a minute, stir, and then microwave more until the butter is melted.

Add the brown sugar and carefully whisk until smooth. This can take a while to combine, so be patient!


Add in the eggs, and whisk until combined.

Next, add the vanilla and rum and whisk until combined. I always use dark rum because I think it really brings out the rum taste in the blondies.

Add in the dry ingredients – flour, salt, baking powder and whisk until just combined.


Then add in the white chocolate chips, toasted coconut, and coarsely chopped macadamia nuts. Fold in with a rubber spatula.

Final batter

Spread batter into a buttered and parchment lined pan. (9 x 13)

Bake at 350* for about 35 minutes. I bake 20, turn my pan and bake 15 more.

And I was in such a hurry to send these to the winner that I never took a picture of them cut!!!  Usually I let them cool completely, and then refrigerate for a few hours so that they slice perfectly. Here is an old pic from Christmas time when I made them for my blogger cookie exchange (on the right).

Make these now!  They are SOOO good and perfect flavors for summertime.


Caribbean Crunch Blondies

2/3 cup shredded coconut

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. dark rum

2/3 cup white chocolate chips

2/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9 x 13 pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.

2. Spread coconut evenly on a sheet pan and place in oven. Bake until toasted and light brown stirring every 3-5 minutes. Once it starts to brown, the coconut will finish quickly.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together.

4. Combine butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl. Beat until well combined (or use a wire whisk and a lot of muscle). Add eggs and beat until well combined. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in by hand, or gently in the mixer, the toasted coconut, white chocolate, and macadamia nuts.

5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into ~24 bars. If time permits, chill the blondies several hours in the refrigerator for a cleaner cut.


Thanks for sticking by!!!  Hopefully I will be having some more blog worthy food happening in my kitchen soon.

Do you like coconut?  I find that people either love it or hate it… obviously I love it!

Do you also go through periods where you find all of your cooking boring?


Life Update – Where Have I Been?!?! March 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 9:34 am

Sorry for the serious lack of posting in the last month and a half. Since then my life has taken a few crazy turns and I will be back to blogging more regularly in April. Here’s what’s been happening….

1. Joe and I both got in car accidents in January – we are both 100% ok, but the cars are a different story. His was totaled, we got a new car, and the night we signed for the new car I got in an accident in the new car. Thank you icy Cleveland roads. Luckily we both just hit the median/guard rail and no other cars were involved… and we were NOT hurt!

2. I found a new job as a personal trainer!  Great stuff, but that had me working 2 jobs for about the past month while I phase out of the old job. I’ve been teaching a bunch of boot camp style classes and loving it. But, I will be leaving this job because…..

3. I AM MOVING TO ARIZONA!!!!! The long and short of it… Joe and I have wanted to move there for about 3 years. A year and a half ago Joe expressed interest to his company about moving out there with no real response. So, sometime in February Joe heard that a new restaurant in his company was opening in Tucson in June. So, he put in for a transfer and also expressed interest in their two Phoenix area stores if something was to come available there. Tucson was a go (as a Sous Chef), but then he heard back from corporate that there was an Executive Chef opening in Gilbert, AZ. He got an official offer for the position on February 28th with a start date of March 28th! YIKES! A 2000 mile move in less than a month! We are beyond excited though because my brother and sister-in-law live in Scottsdale with their daughter and soon to be 2nd daughter (due on March 19th), and my parents have a vacation home out there as well. Plus… NO SNOW!  Seriously!?!? This winter has not treated us well, so definitely an added perk. So, packing, getting the house ready to sell, and still working full time has definitely pushed blogging to the bottom of my priority list.

Thank you all for still checking out the blog and I promise a good post once we are settled in our new apartment!  Speaking of, I am headed out for 4 days next week to find said apartment. We officially fly out of Cleveland on the 23rd!

If any of you are in the Phoenix area, let me know!  I definitely need to find some new peeps out there 🙂



Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos January 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 6:20 pm

My boss spoke of these burritos long before I ever got a chance to try them. I was very intrigued – I love sweet potatoes and black beans, and who doesn’t love a burrito?  So, when she made them for our department meeting I was super excited to finally try them. As expected, they did not disappoint and I naturally asked for the recipe. The recipe came from a Moosewood Cookbook, and is incredibly easy and delicious 🙂

Start out by baking two sweet potatoes at 425* for 1 hour. I always poke holes with a fork and bake the potatoes on foil so that they don’t drip in the oven.

While the potatoes are baking, get out the rest of the ingredients:

Chop your onion and garlic. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium to large skillet over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and can of green chilies to the pan.

Stir frequently and saute until the onions soften. Add cumin, coriander, and cayenne.

Stir and cook for another minute.

Set the mixture aside until the potatoes are done roasting. When the potatoes are soft, remove from the oven and cut a slit in each one to cool quicker.

One the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and add them to your food processor.

Add to the processor the onion mixture, lemon juice, cilantro, salt, and half of the beans.

Process for 45-60 seconds until fairly smooth.

Transfer the mixture to another bowl and add the remaining beans.

Stir the beans in!

Now, divide the filling among six flour tortillas (I like the La Tortilla Factory Whole Wheat High Fiber ones)

Fold up the bottom of the tortilla.

Fold in the right and left sides.

Then roll the bottom over.

Place into a greased (I used Pam) baking dish, fold side down.

Repeat with remaining burritos, placing them tightly in the pan.

Cover with foil and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove from the oven and set it to broil. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the burritos and broil, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes.

Keep an eye on them, and remove when the cheese is melted, browned and bubbly!

Serve with vegetable of choice. I went with red pepper, green pepper, and red onion roasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and Awesome Antler Rub.

**Note: this is a small plate!  Joe ate 2 burritos, and I had one… which means awesome leftovers!**


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

2 medium sweet potatoes (~20 oz total)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1- 4 oz can chopped green chilies
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
dash of cayenne
1 – 15 oz can black beans (or equivalent amount cooked from dry – which is what I did)
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp salt
6 flour tortillas
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used a Mexican blend)

1. Bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour at 425*. Let them cool until touchable. Remove and discard the peel. Reduce oven temperature to 350* and grease a 9×13 baking dish – set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and chilies. Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Add spices and cook for another minute.
3. Add sweet potato, onion mixture, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and half of the beans to a food processor. Blend until somewhat smooth (45 – 60 seconds). Stir in the rest of the beans.
4. Spoon sweet potato mixture evenly among the 6 tortillas. Roll the tortillas to form a burrito and place seam side down snugly into the prepared 9×13 pan and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the cheese evenly on the burritos. Broil, uncovered, until the cheese melts, browns, and bubbles.


What is your favorite type of cuisine? Mine is such a toss up!  I love Mediterranean, Indian, Thai… and many more!

What is your favorite bean? Have you always liked beans? I don’t have a favorite, but I didn’t start liking beans until about 3 years ago!


Blog Update Added January 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 12:02 pm

FYI – I just re-did my recipes page with links to all of the recipes that I have posted. So much easier to find the goods this way.

P.S. Look forward to a post on Monday for AMAZING Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos that I’m making on Sunday. They are vegetarian or vegan depending on if you use cheese or not!

**Edit** The burritos will come on THURSDAY now. Joe and I were invited to my parents for dinner tomorrow!  Can’t pass that one up 🙂


Need a Good Cardio Workout? January 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 8:09 am

On days that I don’t lift and just do cardio, I aim for 50-60 minutes. I LOVE intervals. I used to love treadmill intervals in particular, but with my foot problems I still haven’t gotten back on the treadmill. I actually haven’t run at all since September 12, the day of my half-marathon stress fracture. It is feeling almost 100% and I am planning on trying to run for like 5-10 minutes on February 1. It started feeling great at the end of December, so I figured another month of non-impact cardio would only help it to get even better.

Anyway… since I haven’t been running I have had to get more creative with my elliptical and AMT workouts. Again, I love intervals, and I find that interval workouts are the only way my heart rate gets in the 75 – 85% range. So, I though I would share my favorite elliptical workout. I have two versions, one easier and one harder. I adjusted the easier workout when it got too easy for me – hence the harder version. Try them, get your butt kicked, and let me know how you like it 🙂

I use a Precor elliptical – either with the arms or without. I choose one of the crosstrain programs which changes heights, or if I’m at my parents’ house, their elliptical has a random program that also changes heights. You will be in charge of the resistance changes. Here they are in PDF for easy printing 🙂

Carly’s Butt Kicking EllipticalWorkout

Carly’s Butt Kicking EllipticalWorkoutHarder

I am bad at wordpress and couldn’t figure out how to change the name that appears above… I just left it as my document is saved 🙂

Do you prefer when I post fitness or food posts, or some of both?

Do you prefer interval workouts or long and steady workouts?


How I Fried My Legs… January 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 12:20 pm

I keep an exercise log on the blog, but I never actually log WHAT I do specifically. I have a love/hate with leg workouts. I hate them because they are hard, they burn, and I am sore for a few days – which is exactly why I love them as well 😉 That being said, I definitely need to mention that I lift heavy! I would highly recommend that NOBODY try this workout unless they regularly do these exercises with a heavy weight. That being said… if you are looking for a great leg workout, try 2-3 of these exercises with a much lighter weight until you build more strength in your legs. Then work on building to a higher weight!

I switch my workouts up every few months because I get bored. Lately I have been on a kick of a workout that models the Body for Life style of progressive increase of weight each set, with a decrease in reps. I have felt a huge strength gain since I started this about a month and a half or so ago. My new trend (not seen in this workout) is to also add in some balance and stability exercises regularly. I’ll post more on that with another workout, probably upper body. When it comes to legs, I tend to stick with the basics – because they WORK! I like exercises that use the entire leg because they are more functional. I won’t mention this below, but for each exercise I choose a core exercise to do between sets 1-5. I superset sets 5 and 6 (back to back exercises with no rest). I like using the ball, BOSU, bench, or nothing for my core exercise. I usually do planks at some point in each workout as well.

I always start with the exercise that I find the most challenging – that way I get it out of the way!

Exercise 1 – Step Ups (great YouTube video here. You can use a step, or I just use the weight bench. The step is nice for someone new to the exercise so that you don’t have to set it as high and build height as you progress.)
Set 1  – 12 reps with 20 lb dumbbells (40 lb total)
Set 2 – 10 reps with 25 lb dumbbells (50 lb total)
Set 3 – 8 reps with 30 lb dumbbells (60 lb total)
Set 4 – 6 reps with 35 lb dumbbells (70 lb total)
Set 5 – 12 reps with 20 lb dumbbells (40 lb total) -superset with Set 6
Set 6 – Bulgarian Split Squats with 15 lb dumbbells (See Janetha’s awesome video)

Rest for a few while setting up the next exercise

Exercise 2 – Front Lunge (YouTube video here. The most important thing to remember is to step far enough forward so that your knee does NOT pass over your toe)
Set 1 – 12 reps with 15 lb dumbbells (30 lb total)
Set 2 – 10 reps with 20 lb dumbbells (40 lb total)
Set 3 – 8 reps with 25 lb dumbbells (50 lb total)
Set 4 – 6 reps with 30 lb dumbbells (60 lb total)
Set 5 – 12 reps with 15 lb dumbbells (30 lb total) – superset with Set 6
Set 6 – Back Lunges with 15 lb dumbbells (30 lb total) – YouTube video here.

Exercise 3 – Dumbbell Squat (I keep my feet just a tad wider than shoulder width and hold the dumbbells on the outside of my thighs – see Janetha’s video)
Set 1 – 12 reps with 20 lb dumbbells (40 lb total)
Set 2 – 10 reps with 25 lb dumbbells (50 lb total)
Set 3 – 8 reps with 30 lb dumbbells (60 lb total)
Set 4 – 6 reps with 35 lb dumbbells (70 lb total)
Set 5 – 12 reps with 25 lb dumbbells (50 lb total) – Superset with Set 6
Set 6 – Weighted toe raise (holding 40 or 45 lb dumbbells I can’t remember!)

Exercise 4 – Romanian Barbell Dead Lift (YouTube video here)
Set 1 – 12 reps with 60 lb barbell
Set 2 – 10 reps with 70 lb barbell
Set 3 – 8 reps with 80 lb barbell
Set 4 – 6 reps with 90 lb barbell
Set 5 – 12 reps with 60 lb barbell – superset with Set 6
Set 6 – 12 Power Cleans with a 40 lb barbell (See YouTube video here)

Exercise 5 – Leg Press (YouTube video here) – Weights represent how much I added to the machine, I’m not sure how much the plate weighs.
Set 1 – 12 reps with 160 lb
Set 2 – 10 reps with 180 lb
Set 3 – 8 reps with 200 lb
Set 4 – 6 reps with 220 lb
Set 5 – 12 reps with 180 lb – superset with Set 6
Set 6 –  12 reps Leg Push on Assisted Pull Up machine with 100 lb. (stand on the left side of the machine with your left foot on the base and your right foot on the moveable bench. Press down with your right foot and slowly bring the plate back up to where your knee is a 90 degree angle. Repeat for 12 reps. Repeat on the left leg.)

Quick Leg Circuit – 3 sets of 12 reps of each. I do one right after the other and then rest for a minute and repeat.
1 – Leg Extension Machine
2 – Leg Curl Machine
3 – Hip Adbduction Machine
4 – Hip Adduction Machine
I won’t put weights because I find that they vary depending on the brand of machine.

I follow this up with a 35 minute cardio session on the AMT. If you haven’t tried using an AMT yet and your gym has one, use it!!!

If you are looking to start weight training, these are some great basic exercises. In each leg workout I always try to include step ups, some form of  a lunge, dead lifts, and some form of a squat. If you are just starting out, start with either no weight to work on your form, or very light weights (5 or 10 lb dumbbells, or a 20 lb barbell). Only add weight if these weights become too easy. Adding weight too quickly can easily lead to injury. Feel free to send a message if you have any questions!

What is your favorite type of workout? Self led, group, personal trainer, weights, cardio???

I plan to post some of my upper body workouts too, but…
Are there any other fitness questions you have?

I will also mention that I DO have a masters in Exercise Science, and I have been certified as a Health Fitness Specialist with ACSM, so I can answer questions as a professional!!