Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Favorites: Yaktrax & Cookies

Happy Friday!

This week has been nothing short of pulling-my-hair-out-driving-me-to-drink crazy, so I am so very thankful that it is nearly over.

I'm also very thankful that I run and that it reduces stress. I turn less to food and alcohol during stressful times, opting instead to go for a run.

Which is precisely why I was running this morning at 5:00 am through the snow, in the dark, while it was actively snowing. Sometimes you just do what you gotta do. I ran on the treadmill yesterday morning and couldn't face it 2 days in a row yet.

Although we haven't had much snow yet, it's still a little thick in spots and icy in others. But with these bad boys, I feel like I'm invincible!

My route wasn't bad at all this morning, except one street in particular. I nearly fell about 4 times, but since I had my Yaktrax on I just kept trucking along. Seriously, if you are a winter runner then you need a pair of these.

I would be totally lying to you if I said that I don't eat baked goods (or drink) during stressful times, but I do try to be conscious of whether I'm actually hungry or not. Put the cookie down, Alison. Put it down!

I did some baking with Emily last night, and I think that may be the ticket. Focusing on making something, measuring ingredients, setting timers, and giggling with my daughter are much better ways to take my mind off things than mindlessly eating. So when these cookies came out of the oven, I didn't need one right away! I did eventually eat one though - hey, I put in all the hard work!

My inspiration came from this recipe on Tablespoon. But I thought it sounded a little boring and plain with just the pecans and chocolate drizzle, so I jazzed them up a bit.

Pecan Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies (whew!)
1 package Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
1 8 oz package of Neufchatel cheese, softened
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix cookie mix with the cream cheese. I used a hand blender because it took a lot of muscle! You will get a very thick cookie mix, so don't be alarmed.
2. Mix in pecans, cranberries, and chocolate chips with your hands. This takes a bit just to get everything in there. Lots of kneading and crushing and kneading with your fingers.
3. Once well combined, split dough into two and roll out two logs. Then cut the cookies about 1/4 of an inch thick. Make sure to reshape them so they look pretty!
4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and bake one sheet at a time for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to check them! The original recipe says 6-9 minutes, but mine were not even close even at 9 minutes, so I kept them in much longer. They should be lightly browned around the edges and underneath.
5. Let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a plate, cookie jar, or to be enjoyed!

Feel free to change these up any way you please. I would suggest chopping up the ingredients smaller than what is seen in my cookies. I accidentally bought mini kisses instead of chips, which are actually bigger than even normal sized chocolate chips. It's ok, but I think I'd prefer the smaller ones because they melt better in a cookie. Either way, these are pretty tasty!

Are you a crazy winter runner? What do you do to relieve stress?


  1. I'm still not running, but I switched from outdoor walking to treadmill walking last week. I usually switch back and forth between treadmill and outdoor running in the winter, but I just can't get warm enough while walking. So right now, it's treadmill, Netflix and House Hunters International for the win! And yes, exercise is definitely my stress reliever.

    1. I don't blame you in your condition - walking in this weather is much safer!

      I talk a big talk, but ended up on the treadmill this morning. 6 degrees with 10mph steady winds making it feel like thanks. I actually got all dressed and went outside, but the wind made me turn around. Thank goodness for the treadmill then!