updates & foodie guest post!

8 Jul

Hey guyyyys

I’m back! Well, actually, I landed on Monday evening so I’ve been a bit delinquent. But to be fair, I got home on Monday at 10, had two days to hang out with my best friend/sleep, and then yesterday came back to school for summer research & classes. 

Here is one of the fab guest posts I’d hoped to get up while I was gone… unfortunately I had no internet access except my mom’s phone so I was only able to bring it to you now! I’ve spent a lot of today working through the ~2000 pictures I took at Disney (um, seriously) soooo be prepared (ha, Lion King reference!) for some recaps in the near future. 

Let’s give it up for one of my favorite blends (blog-friends, get it?!), XC Foodie! She’s bringing us a little bit of Cookie and a little bit of Carrot (um I NEED to make that dip, stat!)… what a cutie :) And speedy to boot… check her blog out! ;)


Hello Everyone! I’m Tara from XCFoodie.

I’m a track and cross country runner with a huge appetite for food. I love to bake and cook to offset the energy expenditure of running. I eat a mostly healthy, vegetarian diet, but I think balance is important. Today I want to do a tribute to two of Nicole’s favorite things. What are they? Cookies and Carrots of course! This is the perfect example of balance between nutritious and delicious (not that carrots aren’t delicious!).


Well, technically these are blondies. But blondies are cookie bars. Therefore they count as cookies. I put together this delicious recipe for my track team. Since we’re runners we eat… we eat a lot. You should see our psyche parties. Dessert is a mad house. I made these for practice though, and we enjoyed them after a long, strenuous speed workout. Not a crumb was left, and people were attacking me for seconds and thirds!

Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Toffee Blondies


1 cup butter (2 sticks)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons agave nectar

3 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup toffee bits


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Cook the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns brown (see browning butter tips here if you are unfamiliar with the process), and then remove it from the heat. While it cools, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Combine the brown butter, agave, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, and stir with a wooden spoon until they are combined. Add the eggs to the bowl and attach the bowl to the mixer. Beat the mixture at a medium setting for 3 minutes using the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla and continue beating it until the vanilla is incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Remove the bowl from the electric mixer. Fold in the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and toffee bits. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center. Take out the blondies and let them cool before cutting.


I’m a dried-bean-phobic. I had a bag of red lentils in my pantry for about a year before I decided to use them. One night, I got this intense craving for hummus, but all I had was lentils. My fridge was also overflowing with carrots that I needed to use up. I decided to combine the lentils with carrots, and they complimented each other nicely in this spicy, satisfying dip. It may not have been hummus, but it was just as delicious!

Moroccan Carrot Lentil Dip

1/2 cup dry red lentils

1 1/2 cups water or veggie broth

9 oz. carrots

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/4 heaping teaspoon of each of the following: cumin, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and allspice

1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne

salt to taste

Add the lentils and water in a saucepan. Heat on high until the water boils. Reduce to a simmer and cover, leaving the top slightly ajar. Simmer for 30 minutes, checking every so often (I checked every 5 minutes) to stir and add additional water if necessary. After 30 minutes, remove from the heat and cover completely. Allow it to absorb any leftover liquid for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onions in a small frying pan on medium heat, approximately 3 – 5 minutes or until translucent. Steam the carrots (I used the microwave method, 1/4 cup water and microwaved 2.5 minutes or until soft).

Combine the lentils, carrots, and onions in the food processor. Process until smooth. Add spices and salt. Process for about 30 seconds or until they are thoroughly distributed.

What is your favorite cookie?

What is your favorite way to use carrots?

Nicole’s Question: How much do you want to hear about Disney? Be honest, I kind of understand if you don’t want to hear me babbling about how much I love Disney Princesses because I’m about 4 years old. I have a zillion pictures and don’t want to bore anyone to tears. In fact I may do it in installations. I’m not sure if I should put it chronologically or by park… Any ideas/suggestions/etc welcomed :)


17 Responses to “updates & foodie guest post!”

  1. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! July 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    I I love Tara! You too Nicole! Glad to have ya back!

    My favorite cookies are either ginger bread or chocolate chip with walnuts!

  2. Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) July 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    YAAAY love for Tara!! Great guest post!! :D No kidding, those blondies look to DIE for!! My fave cookies have to be peanut butter choc chip…my two fave foods combined is just HEAVENLY :)

  3. Tara July 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Thanks for all the love Nicole!! You’re the best :)

    I definitely want to hear all about disney. I mean, who doesn’t love disney?! I don’t really care how you organize it, I’m just excited to live through your photos (I saw your tweet. Seriously? That many pictures?!). Though it would be cool to see it park-by-park!

  4. Amanda @ Running with Spoons July 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Yay! Glad to see you back, Nicole! I’ve missed you! And I totally wanna hear ALL about your trip to Disneyland. I’m borderline obsessed with everything Disney, so I don’t mind tonnes of pics and recaps :D

    And yay for Tara! Love you! And love cookies :D My favorite are the classic chocolate chip oatmeal, just because they has so many good memories. And my favorite way to use carrots is as a tool to get hummus from container to mouth ;)

  5. The Teenage Taste July 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Glad you’re back, Nicole! I’m glad you had a great time and I cannot wait to hear about Disney. I was 10 years old the last time I went and I really, really want to go back. I miss that Disney magic! ;-)

    Great guest post, Tara! I can totally understand the whole running and eating thing. I love the huge appetite I get post-run!
    PS – That first picture of you is AWESOME! :-D

  6. Megan July 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    I love Tara!
    Both recipes look so delish :D

  7. sugarcoatedsisters July 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    I just bought lentils and am so excited to use them! I also bought a 5-LB bag of carrots, so I’m all set!

    My favorite cookie is really just straight-up cookie dough ;)

    My favorite way to eat carrots is with garlic hummus and cayenne pepper… or in carrot cake!

    – Nicole

  8. hippierunner July 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Bring on the Disney! I want to see it alllll! And great post, Tara!

  9. BrittFit July 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    I am constantly eating carrots throughout the day…id say carrots and pb is my favorite snack of all time!

  10. fashionfitnessfoodie July 9, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    i love that she did two recipes to fit your blog!! they look awesome!

  11. sunshinevegan July 9, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    Carrots = another excuse to dip things in PB :)
    my favorite cookies are probablyy white chocolate macadamia.
    Awesome guest post Tara!
    And YES I want to hear about Disney! Lots of cute pics please! It’s been forever since I’ve been.

  12. runningperspective July 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    i am making that carrot dip like NOW!
    looks amazinggg :)

  13. sweetmissmolly July 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Thank you for the blondie toffee magic. Amazing!

  14. Alexandra (Veggin' Out in the Kitchen) July 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Nicole: Glad you’re back and hope you had the BEST time like you deserve!! I would love to here about Disney! I’ve never been there, so it would be great to see what’s it’s like :)
    And you’re definitely welcome to CO at anytime!!! :D It is a gorgeous place so you really should come ;)

    Tara: Awesome guest post! Your recipes look incredible! I’m dying to try that dip. Favorite cookie? Nicole’s chocolate-pb-chocolate chip dough balls!! BEST EVER (they really are Nicole :) Favorite use of cookies? I pretty much like them in any form!

    <3 <3

  15. Kate (What Kate is Cooking) July 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    I love Tara!! Both of these recipes have me drooooooling.

    Not going to lie, I would love to hear about Disney! Maybe it’s because I grew up going to Disneyland, so I will always have a spot in my heart for Disney related things :)

  16. Jess July 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    I want to hear LOTS & LOTS!!

    that dip looks super delicious!!


  1. Wait, running isn’t a sport? « XC Foodie - July 8, 2011

    […] out my guest post over at Of Cookies and Carrots!! Check out the rest of Nicole’s blog while you’re at it – She has some of the best cookie […]

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