Almond Butter Brownies

As runners, we thrive on schedules, routines, and predictability. We spend hours creating the perfect training plan, plotting out our workouts, and crunching the numbers. So what happens when you have a 9-mile run and a nagging ache on the same day? Let me tell you, it sucks.

My left calf started bugging me after my morning 6-miler on Tuesday. By the time I laced up for my afternoon run (I had a double planned), the ache had turned into a sharp pain. “$%^&ck!!”, I thought to myself. I’m entering the toughest 3 weeks of marathon training and now is so not the time for a roadblock. I knew I had to bail on my Wednesday morning run with Kelly and Nicole and instead held a pity party for myself all day long. I iced, I used arnica cream, I elevated, I even chose my bed over the elliptical trainer.

I know it’s not the end of the world to take a day off (in fact, I probably needed it!), but when something goes awry it illustrates how tenuous marathon training really is. It’s such a delicate dance between running enough miles and overtraining. Pushing through discomfort vs. knowing when to stop. Being a ravenous beast while still making good food choices. There are so many factors that can affect training and race day and to be honest, it’s exhausting trying to manage them all. That being said, I think this little calf strain came at a good time. Just as I was starting to get burnt out, I found myself thinking how much I actually enjoy waking up at 5:45am to run with friends, to bang out hill repeats on Thursday nights, to give up my weekends for long runs. The thought of those things being taken away from me due to injury made me very cranky indeed. The calf is feeling better today and I’m going to test it out this evening – if it feels better, great! If not, I’ll take another day off from running and return even hungrier for the road the next day. I’ll keep you posted.

My favorite cure for crankiness? An episode of Mad Men and a good dose of chocolate! As much as I love traditional desserts (extra butter, please!), it’s not a good idea to eat ultra-decadent stuff everyday. As a high mileage runner, I need to fuel my body with quality carbs, protein, and fat.

Following in the footsteps of my girls, Madeline and Kelly, I whipped up some healthy (vegan!) brownies.

Almond Butter Brownies (yields 16 brownies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (B-vitamins and fiber-ific)
  • 2 Tbs ground flax seed (omega 3’s thankyouverymuch)
  • 1 cup demerara sugar (or use granulated if that’s all you’ve got)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – if you like it a lil spicy!)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (antioxidants, what what)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup almond butter (vitamin E! protein! fiber! healthy fat!)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups almond milk (low calorie)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (good for your soul)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease a 8″ x 8″ pan
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside
  • In a medium bowl, mix almond milk, vanilla, and almond butter
  • Strir together wet and dry ingredients until combined, fold in chocolate chips
  • Pour into pan and bake for about 35 minutes (or until edges begin to pull away from the side of the pan). Yum!

 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 brownie
 
Amount Per Serving
Calories 152
Calories from Fat 48
         
Total Fat 5.4g 
Saturated Fat 1.3g 
Cholesterol 1mg
Sodium  171mg 
Total Carbohydrates  25.5g          
Dietary Fiber 2.8g                                          
Sugars          10.3g
Protein            3.7g
 
Vitamin A 1%   Vitamin C  0%
Calcium     7%   Iron  10%
 
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

How do you deal with bumps in your training schedule? Do you get cranky when you have to take unscheduled rest days?