Here’s to you, Jillian Michaels
Finding—and maintaining—healthy balance isn’t really my strength. I generally find that I can either eat well or work out frequently, but not both. But after this week’s chocolate muffin debacle (and, consequently, two terribly slow runs, a wicked case of the sugar blues, and a reluctance to wear anything without an elastic waist), it was pretty clear that I might need to try a little harder.
So last night, in an attempt to avoid the after dinner/before bed junk food danger zone, I called on Jillian Michaels and her 30 Day Shred instead of going after the chocolate chips. I hoped that her take-no-prisoners approach would inspire renewed strength and willpower even after the workout was over, but after my ten millionth butt-kick, the only thing I wanted more than a hot shower was something to eat.
I’d earned it, right?
So I considered all of my options: Because I didn’t want to undo the day’s (moderately) good decisions, ice cream was out of the question.
And chocolate chip muffins? Those were out of the question, too–even if I hadn’t eaten all of them already.
But a blueberry-banana spoon-smoothie with peanut butter granola? Perfect.
I know, I know. Although granola was, for quite some time, considered health food, “eating granola” is, in my humble opinion, simply a euphemism for “eating crumbled cookies masquerading as health food.” But sometimes I’m ok with that. Especially when we’re talking about granola that tastes like crumbled peanut butter cookies.
I’m pretty sure that Jillian wouldn’t approve.
But if she wants to come over and kick my butt—or, god forbid, make me do another butt-kick—she’s welcome. And I’ll even offer her a spoonful, just to be polite.
Ridiculously easy peanut butter granola
In a small saucepan, heat unsweetened apple juice and pure maple syrup. Stir in a giant blob of salted peanut butter. When everything is perfectly drippy, pour over rolled oats and stir well before dumping mixture into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 300 F for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until golden brown.
I love to eat this on top of a super thick, frozen smoothie made with 1/2 of a frozen ripe banana, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (or raspberries or strawberries) and 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk. Like a gorified (and really cold!) peanut butter sandwich :).
* I’ve intentionally included really vague directions. I usually use 1/2 cup apple juice, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup of peanut butter, and 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats– but adjust to taste. This doesn’t result in a granola that’s as sweet as commercial varieties, but it makes an excellent base for mix-ins (think chocolate chips, chopped peanuts, lightly toasted coconut, dried fruit).