I Went Big

Shortly after dinner last night, my sweet tooth struck…hard. I was craving some chocolate in a bad way, and I knew that whatever tiny piece of chocolate I could scrounge up just wouldn’t do the trick. It was go big or go home…so I went big.


And went ahead and made a batch of Tina’sBrownies with a Secret.”


Sorry…yes, I whited out the secret. I guess if you want to know what it is, you’ll just have to go and check out her book! But really, if you haven’t checked it yet, you really should anyway.


I started reading (and finished) the book back in April and I loved it. I’ve been reading Tina’s blog since 2008, and have long been a fan of hers. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her twice, and I found it so refreshing to see that she is just as friendly, genuine, and fun in person as she is both on her blog and her book.

Tina’s approach to her book is truly personal; almost as if you’re really having a conversation with her. It’s a light, easy read, with some killer recipes to boot (obviously!). I also loved the fact that, despite reading her blog for some time now, there were still things in the book that I had no idea about, and she makes some great points about a lot of things regarding healthy living.


So now…back to those brownies. Yeah, I was a little impatient. We needed to kick that cooling down process into high gear.


Oh, and in case you’re wondering, those are caramel-filled Dove chocolates that I placed on top. Yep…I couldn’t help myself.


After about 10 minutes, my patience was out the window, so I cut into them and made Jay and I couple of mini brownie sundaes made with Edy’s Slow Churned French Vanilla and some caramel drizzled on top.


Put that together with the fact that Texas Chainsaw Massacre was on IFC last night, and I was one happy camper. (Yes, I LOVE scary, gory movies!)


After last night’s go-big brownies, I made sure to “go big” this morning at the gym, too.

  • 10 easy minutes on the elliptical while chatting with Jen (love having a gym buddy!)
  • BodyPump (so sore still from Tuesday…)
  • 20 minutes HIIT (20 sec @ 9.0mph / 40 sec @ 4.5mph)

Once I was finished, I carted my sweaty self back home to put together a killer breakfast. I’m not kidding…this was a seriously good batch!


Iced coffee in my engagement glass


And a Sunflower Seed Butter Buckwheat bowl.


In the mix:

  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat Hot Cereal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • ~1/2 tbsp sunflower seed butter, mixed in at the end of cooking


Of course, it was topped off with more Sunflower Seed Butter Granola.


Aren’t you impressed that there’s still some hangin’ around? Yeah, I am too. Winking smile


Random Question for the Morning:

Where do you see yourself a year from now? How about five years from now?


  1. says

    Brownies are my weakness! I love them with brown sugar icing :)

    Well a year from now, probably not much different than right now, but five year from now hopefully we have started our little family and I would love to open our own little cafe – but that’s only in the dream stages right now!

  2. says

    I always bust into the brownies straight out of the oven–I’m impressed you waited as long as you did!

    I’m not sure where I’ll be in the future, but as long as I am happy, healthy, and fit, I’ll count myself successful!

  3. @ThisLittleLambe says

    Those brownies look HEAVENLY! And brekky looks delish too. I need to find me some sunflower butter!

    5 years from now I hope to have a successful freelance writing business, be a part-time yoga teacher, and be married with a toddler! Better get going on all this!

  4. says

    Oh man, brownies sound amazing right now! I want to read Tina’s book! In a year I will be starting my internship that I have to complete before I can’t get my OT license…scary, but so exciting :). In five years I hope to be working, be married, and loving life! I’m also hoping this little blog of mine will still be in my life and doing amazing :). Where do you see yourself?

  5. says

    In a year, I hope to be seriously moving toward adding a little one to my family. I also have some blog related aspirations, but I’m always afraid to say them out loud and jinx them

  6. says

    wow those brownies look amazing- i may just have to make myself some for the afternoon..or the next week 😉 I see myself in 5 years married, with kids, and enjoying my career xo

  7. says

    I am serious the only person in the world who isn’t a chocolate fan. Now if those had been blondies…I would have eaten the entire pan!

    • Courtney says

      I was never a chocolate person growing up. Even now, I don’t like chocolate ice cream, and I’ll always be able to pass up a plain chocolate bar. If I’m eating chocolate, (especially in candy form) it has to have something else going on in there :)

  8. says

    I have her book but I can’t remember the secret! I’m going straight home from work to check it out. I love your toppings! And so good that you followed it up with a great workout this AM. I had a sweaty run in the humid humid nyc weather.

    A year from now? Ideally, I’d love to be doing my dream job BUT I’m really happy with where things are at work right now so no complaints if I’m doing the same stuff at work as I am now. Personally, I’m definitely ready to meet “the one” if you will 😉 That means 5 years from now, I definitely hope to be married! And maybe even living in my hometown, Omaha.

  9. says

    ooooh those brownies look amazing I love the addition of the caramels!! I still need to make some granola I drool every time I see it!

  10. says

    That brownie sundae is making me hungry! They seriously look delicious! Also, I love that someone else loves Body Pump class, that’s my favorite and I’m sad because we’re moving and I’m so going to miss all the classes @ my current gym!

    But in 5 years, hopefully my hubby and I will be living out in Portland…in a house (not an apartment)…and a baby (hopefully!)…and maybe another dog or two :)

  11. says

    Ughhh I’ve been having major dessert needs lately. I’m going to have to get creative this evening… I’m THINKING pineapple upside down cake, but who knows where my little brain will take me later?? A year from now I see myself moving back to LA from NYC (with my RD credential! woohoo!!) , and hopefully 5 years from now I’ll be in my own house.

  12. says

    DANG Court, you did go BIG! & it looks AMMMAZZZING! YUM! 😀
    Love the addition of the Dove chocolates!

    & nice workout- you go girl 😀

    • Courtney says

      Holly- thought you should know, Jay probably spent a half hour last night reading your blog and looking at all of your Sandals posts! All he kept saying was “I want to go back. I want to go back. No fair. I want to go back.” 😉

      • says

        Too funny 😀 Well, if I ever win the lotto I PROMISE I will take all of us back to Sandals :) When we were there I was thinking how fun it would be to go with another couple, just to have other people to hangout with! We met a few couples, but I think it would just be nice to go with another couple that we already know. It would be so much fun! & we could drink lots of dirty bananas & no pressure no problems 😉

        • Courtney says

          OMG YES! We spent our entire week with another couple we met down there who were from LA and actually had gotten married the same day that we did. It was a BLAST!

          And hubby, I can’t believe you commented! But I’m with ya on the Miami Vice 😉

          • says

            Sounds like we all have a plan…now I just have to win the lotto 😉 Hopefully Florida has a big one this weekend!! *crossed fingers…and toes 😀

  13. says

    Courtney my love for you has multiplied after this post! Now THAT’S how to squash a chocolate craving. It drives me nuts when people say they chew gum or have a 50-cal hot Choc when they’re craving something sweet!

  14. says

    Holy brownies. I’ve been meaning to buy “Carrots N Cake” for a while – I’ve had it written on a piece of paper on my fridge! I should really buy it!

    Great workout – maybe I’d enjoy the gym more if I had body pump at my gym. It’s only offered at 2 or 3 gyms in the area – and not the one I belong to!

    I think if I’m subjected to having to run on the treadmill again I’m going to try your HIIT workout – sounds painfully fun!

  15. says

    O wow!! Those brownies look delicious… I need to go out and buy Tina’s book asap! That breakfast looks amazing… I have tons of buckwheat in my pantry I think I need to break it open and make some of these buckwheat bowls! Delish!! One year from now, I hope to have a job!! I recently got laid off so right now I feel a little bit in limbo land. 5 years from now, I hope to be settled in my career and maybe married. I don’t know we’ll see!!!

  16. says

    Courtney, you’re killing me! Brownies with vanilla ice cream is my ULTIMATE favorite dessert! It’s 10:20 in the moring and I just want to skip to dessert :)

    In a year from now? I hope to be getting ready to celebrate my one year marriage anniversary, starting my internship (hopefully still working with inmates in some capacity) and just loving life!

    In 5 years? You know I’ll be living in North or South Carolina. MM hmm.

  17. says

    mmm those look delicious. I might need to go get that book!
    1 year? No idea. Graduated from college, but probably without a job and figuring out what to do!
    5…maybe engaged or married and hopefully with a job by this time!

  18. says

    Would you believe I passed up brownies last night?! They didn’t look near as good as these. I wouldn’t have been able to say no to those bad boys. mmmm.

    And I honestly hope my life isn’t much different a year or five or ten from now. I just hope that the paths I’m taking and the passions I pursue are more developed and continue to support my family more and more. :)

  19. says

    Genius on the fan! Why haven’t I thought of that before?

    In 5 years I hope to be back living in FL and one, if not both of us “retired” from real jobs, just managing our properties down there for income :) (L-O-F-T-Y goal ;))

  20. says

    you are killing me over here with all that chocolate goodness!!! Those look bakery style fresh :) YUM!!!

    I see myself rocking my businesses even further and traveling! Getting hitched and sailing into the sunset 😉 YAY!


  21. says

    Your brownies look phenominal! You’re always so clever with your cooking! The dove chocolates on top are such a great idea.

    In a year from now I’d love to have my house completely in order – no big projects to think about – so I can feel at home and have people over all the time. In 5 years I’d love to be married with at least one kid and be an awesome mom. We shall see! :)

  22. says

    I’d like to hope that, a year from now, I’m getting geared up for a grad school program up in Philadelphia (or that tri-state area). That would be a major upgrade from where I am currently stationed, in my bed, puffy faced post surgery!!

    Good to have goals, right?

    Your brownies look divine!

    • Courtney says

      Awww man! Hope you’re hangin’ in alright over there (and eating as much fro yo as you can!) You can have that, right?? :)

  23. says

    And…I didn’t even answer the blog question (one of those days) haha. Let’s see…in a year I will be done with grad school, working in a Children’s hospital in either California, Seattle, Texas, North Carolina, or the lovely Chicago…in five years (I will be 28) I hope to be married, be a homeowner, have a “savings”, have traveled to Europe, be a part-time blogger on the side (and be good at it)…and be thinking BABIES!

  24. says

    Those brownies look insane! And that’s coming from a girl who is totally immune to chocolate’s allure. And yes, I know that I should probably be kicked out of the girl club for not liking chocolate. 😉

    In one year I would like to be settled into a new job and new city (this small town girl is moving to the big city). In five years I will hopefully be married and will have finished a marathon. I wouldn’t mind hearing the pitter patter of little feet either.

  25. says

    Ahhhh those brownies, and especially the ice cream sundae are just screaming for me to eat them through the computer screen!!! I’ll be grabbing Tina’s book just to see the secret to the recipe :)

    I actually hate gory scary movies, but I do love a good psychologically freaky movie. I just can’t deal with the blood!

    A year from now, I’ll still be in college, but probably doing an internship somewhere. Nothing too exciting, but who knows where I’ll be four years from now…

  26. says

    I have only been reading your blog for awhile, but I never would have thought you as a scary movie kinda gal! haha I can watch them, but then I cant sleep by myseld or without the lights on haha

  27. Karen says

    Those brownies look amazing and I am totally obsessed with brownies!!

    In a year, I see myself with our little baby as I am due January 1st :)

    I would love to be living in California in 5 years but I don’t think that will happen so I would be happy with living in Chicago, working at home as a Meeting Planner and spending tons of time with my family!

  28. says

    oooh….those brownies look good! especially with the dove chocolate addition! yum!

    1yr from now: i hope to be enjoying married life.
    5yrs from now: MAYBE i might be a mom….i’m still pretty scared of parenthood so the thought of it scares the bejeezers out of me.

  29. says

    Oh. My. God. those brownies look heavenly!! And amen to having chocolate cravings- I swear they are real :)
    I ate almost a half bag of kettle corn yesterday… my body just told me I needed it- and I’m sticking to that!

  30. Audrey says

    One year from now, I hope to be during a summer intership in the medical field. Five years from now, I hope to be completing my first year of med school :).

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