Do you need some energy today?
Whether you’re chasing kids, catching up on assignments for class, or sweating under a looming deadline, at work, I bet you do. And if you’re one of those virtuous humans who sweats it out at the gym? These cookie dough bites are definitely for you.
Keep it on the down low, but I’ve sort of started running this summer. I wouldn’t identify as a capital-R Runner yet, but I’m secretly working on it…
Running has always been my nemesis. At a glance, my lanky frame is built for it, but in reality it’s no fun at all—permanently associated with the words “painful” and “exhausting.” Throughout high school I successfully rebuffed track and cross-country coaches with the “sorry, already on the swim team” excuse, but looking back, I really wish I’d trained myself to run when I was younger.
Exercise-wise, it never occurred to me that I’d stop swimming, but lo and behold, I have. A combination of finances, scheduling, and infrequent proximity to a pool makes swimming a no-go, but running? You can do that anywhere. No membership or expensive suit required. Back in college, a running store nearby went out of business, and I picked up a few clima-lite shirts, two pairs of shorts, and some shoes for next to nothing. Why not? I figured the transformative experience of being at university would change my mind about pounding the pavement. Four years later, though, my equipment sat unused.
Fast forward to Savannah. Moving cross-country makes you realize that, wow, we keep a lot of unused and unnecessary junk in our lives. It seems easier to keep things around than throw them away, and what if I end up needing that tennis racket or third rain coat? I found this was especially true for project supplies I’d never gotten around to using—hello, unused fabric yardage, art supplies, and soap-making equipment! And yes, running gear.
When it comes down to it, guilt and a “use it up, wear it out” mentality was my main motivator for starting to run this year. I went through a minimalist cleanse of sorts last winter, which involved throwing out or donating something every day for a few weeks. (It was exhilarating, and I miss nothing. If you haven’t done this yet, do it.) When the running shoes and ugly short shorts sifted to the top of the pile, I hesitated. These things are brand stinking new, I can’t just give them to Goodwill…Okay, maybe a trial run. (Heh…puns!)
I didn’t expect to love it, but running in Savannah is a different ballgame than scaling Seattle’s steep hills with pelting rain in your eyes. We live two blocks from a tree-lined park with a 1-mile loop around the perimeter. There’s almost no excuse not to run a lap or two. The hardest part, I found, is making myself put my shoes on and get out the door. The rest is not so bad.
So am I going to start entering races and sucking down energy gels anytime soon? No, ma’am. I run to clear my head for half an hour, that’s all. Have I gotten faster? Yes. [Unless it’s 94F out.]Do I go further than before? Yes. Am I in better shape and sleeping better? Yes. Maybe exercise is not so bad?
And yes, another perk of hauling myself around the park is that I get to eat more snacks. I love snacks so much. Dried fruit and granola bars and crackers and nuts…bring it on. I found this recipe for cookie dough bites on the Kitchn, and it was too good not to share with you. Healthy bite-sized treats that travel well in your purse, and really taste like cookie dough? I’m down.
I included both a chocolate chip and an oatmeal raisin variation on these, as well as different options for nuts. The original recipe called for cashews, since they’re buttery and delicious, but let’s be real here: I’m not made of money. Budget-friendly sunflower seeds blended with almonds are a fine substitute. And the chocolate chip vs. oatmeal raisin debate? I don’t know anyone who honestly thinks this is a debate. Chocolate chip all the way! But in dough bite format, oatmeal raisin won out in taste testing rounds here. Shocking, I know, but you’ll have to try it for yourself.
So, if you’re training for a marathon or just congratulating yourself for taking the stairs today, these dough bites are a sweet, energy-boosting treat just for you. Enjoy!
- 1.5 oz. (1/3 c.) sunflower seeds
- 2.5 oz. (1/2 c.) almonds or cashews
- 2 oz. (2/3 c.) rolled oats*
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup (grade B is preferable)
- 1.5 oz. (1/4 c.) chocolate chips
- 1.5 oz. (1/4 c.) raisins + 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Grind nuts and oats in food processor until a fine meal forms. Add salt, vanilla, and maple syrup and process until a dough of sorts forms, scraping down the sides occasionally. Scrape out of food processor into a bowl and stir in chocolate chips or cinnamon & raisins by hand.
- Oil your hands (coconut oil is ideal) and roll dough into 15 evenly sized balls. Store in a container in the freezer in a single layer.
- *Get certified gluten-free rolled oats if gluten contamination is an issue for you.