Mini Brownie Egg Nests

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I am all about last minute Easter preparations around here, mostly because Easter always seems to sneak up on me. We haven’t dyed eggs yet, nor have we even found the Easter baskets. Time is running out. But I loved this idea so much and it seemed simple enough, so I decided why not? If nothing else at least I managed to do this – Easter will not pass without at least something to commemorate it as special.

Besides, I don’t know about you but my kids and I would rather eat a brownie with a candy covered chocolate egg on top, than a real egg, any day of the week.

You can do this recipe from a box mix, or you can do it from scratch. Scratch takes just a few extra minutes and gives you more control over what goes in. I went with the scratch option.

Mini Brownie Egg Nests

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten well
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (because of course these are healthy brownies)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
Sweetened shredded coconut
Nutella
Whoppers Robin eggs, Cadbury mini eggs, or jelly beans. We went with the Robin eggs, which can only fit one in the nests, but are still cute.

Instructions:
Gather your ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Melt the butter in the microwave – 40 seconds to 1 minute on full power.

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Stir in the cocoa powder, eggs, sugar and vanilla, mix until smooth.

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Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

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Stir dry ingredients into the sugar and butter mixture. Mix well until all ingredients are smooth and without lumps.

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Measure by teaspoonfuls into a mini muffin pan. Each tin should be no more than 2/3 full (the nests are hard to get out if they puff up above the edge of the pan).

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Place in hot oven for 5 minutes. Remove and sprinkle a small amount of sweetened coconut on top of each brownie.

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Return pan to the oven for 10 minutes. The coconut will brown and will mimic the sticks in a natural bird nest.

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Remove from oven, and while brownies are still warm make an indentation in top for your eggs to sit in.

Allow the brownie nests to cool before removing from pan – this is the Pinterest Fail portion of the recipe if you rush it.

Remove cooled brownies to a plate or cooling rack. Place a small dab of Nutella on the underside of your “eggs” and arrange them Nutella side down on top of the nests. The Nutella holds the eggs in place.

Plus, Nutella just makes everything better.

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And voila – Mini Brownie Egg Nests!

Happy Easter!

My New Best Friend

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My new best friend is a rolling pin, and I’m not even making a pie. In fact, I’m not doing any baking at all. I had my first PT appointment for the posterior tibial tendinitis this afternoon, and it was suggested that I repurpose a rolling pin to loosen up the muscles and fascia in my calves so that the posterior tibial tendon isn’t being constantly pulled on by the muscles above it.

I cannot believe that a) this actually works and b) it’s actually a thing. You can google “rolling pin massage” and find a bunch of videos of people doing this exact thing.

It works so well that after I rolled out my legs, I was able to stand on one foot, walk up and down stairs and all around my house, and squat down to the floor while keeping my heels on the floor with no pain. It’s been months since I could do any of those things. I am amazed at the difference this simple technique could make in just one day.

I had actually tried rolling out the calves before using my foam roller but it just couldn’t get in and release the right areas. But the rolling pin seems to be able to do the trick. Who knew they were good for more than just making pastry?

Planning Ahead

I am kind of excited to have a race to look forward to, even though it is a 5k. I usually prefer the 10k distance because 5ks are over so quickly, but right now a 10k would really not be possible. So 5ks it is, for at least the next little while.

The race is the Inspiring Hope run, which is right here in my home town on May 10. That’s Mothers Day. What better way to celebrate being a mom than running off and getting all sweaty? It is cheap to enter, and I can walk to the start line from my house. Can’t really say no to any of those things.

I did the 10k at this race last year and had a lot of fun, even though at that time I was really just getting back into running. It’s a race with a great feeling of community, since a lot of people in the community come out to support the runners, and also because it being a small town race, a lot of the runners know each other.

Alert: justification ahead. Lest anyone think I’m being silly to do this so soon after being released I just want to be truthful that I will not really be running. I will walk/run it – no particular goal time, just wanting to finish and feel good at the end. It’s a starting place – a chance to celebrate feeling better and getting on with my life.

I’m a Naughty Little Cheater

I did a potentially bad thing that turned out okay today – I actually ran a little. Just a little. And it didn’t hurt one bit. Well, the ankles got a bit sore but nothing in the abdomen gave me any trouble.

I feel like a bit of a cheater though, because technically I really shouldn’t start running at all until the 6th week is complete, and today is just the beginning of the 6th week so one might say it’s a bit soon. However, I think I am basically healed up. I haven’t even seen so much as a drop of blood in almost 3 weeks, and never anything more than transient pain (gas, I think) for about as long, so I can only think I’m probably close enough to where it’s probably okay.

I started my treadmill workout with 5 minutes of brisk walking, then ran 1 minute, very slowly. No abdominal pain and no ankle pain either. So I walked 4 minutes then ran 2. Still no problems. Then I ran a bit faster for 3 minutes and walked 3. No problems with the abdominal area but the ankle started feeling sore, so I just did it one more time, for a total of just over 12 minutes. I think the running averaged about a 12 minute pace, so if I had to guess, I’d say I probably ran about a mile. Then I walked for the remainder of my workout for a total of about 3 miles.

Depending on how I feel, I may or may not try this same workout again later this week. I have a PT appointment for my ankle on Wednesday – I might try it again that day and Friday. I just have to take it day by day and see how I feel.

Oh, and by the way this is not even the dumbest thing I did in the last few days. I went with my husband and kids to the baseball diamond where he was going to work with them on some batting skills, and we all basically forgot that I had even had the surgery. I swung at a couple of balls and had no problems. It was on the 4th swing that I realized what I was doing was probably not all that smart, and on the 5th swing I realized it was in fact downright stupid. My body, in particular my belly button, gave me a heads up that I was being an idiot. So I went and laid down on the bench while the boys finished up. No problems since then – woke up feeling great today. Thus my decision to give running a go. If I was gonna tear a hole in myself, seems like it would have happened yesterday. This is what they call justification.

So yeah – I’m a cheating cheater who cheats. In my defense I do feel that recovery from this surgery is highly individual and I think I must be on the faster end of the spectrum. Probably because I was in good shape going into it – I really feel like I have bounced back pretty well. It didn’t feel like it for the first couple of weeks, but once things started to turn for the better, they really turned around quickly.

But anyway, all in all I feel like my recovery is going very well, and it continues to appear that the limiting factor in my return to running isn’t the surgery at all, but the ankle injury. Which it’s probably good I have that ankle injury or who knows what stupid thing I would try to do to myself next!

Better Every Day

Every time someone asks me how I am feeling since my surgery, I tell them I feel better every day. It wasn’t true at first, but it has been true for the last couple of weeks since I started back to walking at the gym. I am at 5 weeks today and am really feeling strong now. I occasionally have odd twinges of soreness, but for the most part my surgical stuff is not causing me any pain.

If only based on my recovery from surgery, I think I would be getting back to running pretty quickly. Unfortunately, the tendinitis I developed back in January is still bothering me.

Since I’ve already tried giving it a couple of months of rest and doing some rehab exercises I found on the Internet – a course of action that hasn’t quite worked- I decided to stop futzing around and actually go see a doctor about it today. He basically agreed with my Internet diagnosis of posterior tibial tendonitis, and recommended 2 more weeks of high dose Ibuprofen three times daily, some PT and some orthotics, and then see where we are. He also said I need to go back to Brooks when I go back to running as the Asics I switched to are probably not a stable enough shoe for me. Honestly, I can feel the squishyness of them so I definitely think it could be the shoes are at least partially responsible.

Anyway, If there’s no improvement in a couple of weeks, then we will do an MRI and possibly refer me to a podiatrist.

The good news for now is that he felt that I didn’t seem to be in enough pain for a stress fracture to be very likely, and that tendonitis was very consistent with what I told him about my training. A lot of mileage added quickly is a pretty textbook way to give yourself tendinitis, which I knew. What I didn’t know was how fast it would go from “no problem” to “big problem”. At the time I knew I was adding miles pretty quickly but had just hoped to get by with it for a few weeks. Obviously, I miscalculated. Lesson learned, I guess.

Disappointed

Had a very disappointing post operative appointment today. I had been thinking that since I have been feeling so good that I would probably be released to resume more of my normal activities. Even if I didn’t get released, I thought at least there would be some sort examination and I would get to hear about how things are healing up. But, neither of those things happened. The doctor asked how I was doing, I told him great and when could I start running. He said he was glad to hear I was doing great, but he never releases anyone for exercise before 6 weeks.

So. Not sure how to feel about this. Guess I will just keep doing what I am doing, maybe ease off somewhat, and continue to wait it out like I have been. Grr.