Cinnamon Rice Pudding with Cherry LARABAR Sauce

I never in a million years thought I would ever be interested in marathon training.

Yet here I am, 6 months after tearing my patella(s), accomplishing the long recovery, pushing myself to the max, all with this large end goal.

As with learning anything new, there’s bound to be a couple of bumps along the way. But I never expected that I would be that bump.

Over the past week or so I’ve put every possible barrier in front of me in an attempt to halt my training.

I’ve talked myself down from continuing to run because of fear that my knee would start hurting, I’ve told myself that I couldn’t go hard enough on my bike, even though I had loads of energy left, and I’ve taken shots at my confidence by telling myself I’m just not good enough to do this.

Somewhere along the way I stopped believing in myself.

How did this happen?

I’m stressed. It’s stressful when you take on something you’ve always thought was insurmountable and then decide to tackle it head on.

I’m scared. What if my knee starts hurting again? What if it can’t make it through the long runs?

I’m not ready for change. Change means learning new things and adapting my lifestyle to fit something new. It’s freakin’ me out!

I’ve lost sight of my progress. I feel like my body isn’t responding to all the training I’m putting it through.

But, a goal cannot be accomplished if you don’t believe in yourself! And giving up shouldn’t be an option.

Anytime we set our sights on something, we owe it to ourselves to keep going. We need to remind ourselves:

I’m good enough. I can accomplish anything. I can do this, and I will do this.

Setting small goals

Instead of stressing over the larger picture, I’ve decided to come up with 5 goals that I hope to accomplish in the next 30 days. Once the 30 days are up, I’ll come back to these goals, assess, and make my next set.

  1. Run for a consecutive 15 minutes without pain in my knee.
  2. Increase treadmill pace from 5.2mph to 5.5mph with no knee pain.
  3. Complete spin class at an average heart rate of 155bpm.
  4. Increase swim pace from 28 seconds to 25 seconds per 25 meters.
  5. Increase weights from 10lbs to 12.5lbs when completing upper body exercises.

Setting these smaller goals will help remind myself how far I’ve come and give me the boost I need when I get down on myself.

I can do this, and I will do this.

[We can all accomplish your goals! A little belief in yourself can go a long, long way!]

Cinnamon Rice Pudding with Cherry LARABAR Sauce

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Yeast free

This soft and sticky rice pudding is the perfect way to begin a relaxing Sunday morning. Have the leftovers double as a warm breakfast on the go, just add a handful of granola and you’re ready to rock!

Inspired by: My Recipes



  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup  uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1/2  cinnamon stick
  • pinch Himalayan rock salt
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk – I used almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey – to make vegan use maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract


  • 1 cherry pie LARABAR soaked in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Optional toppings: because I ate half of this one day and the other the next, I didn’t get to take pictures of the toppings I tried with this pudding! I sprinkled on some omega granola, shelled flax seeds, coconut and stirred in a bit of maple flavoring. It was delicious!


  1. To prepare pudding, combine first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Drain remaining liquid and return rice and cinnamon stick to the stove top.
  2. Stir in almond milk, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 20 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick.
  3. To prepare sauce, combine soaked LARABAR and vanilla in a blender and process until smooth.
  4. Pour sauce over pudding and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition stats [1/2 cup]: calories 350; fat 17g; carbohydrates 40g; dietary fiber 5g; sugars 20g; protein 5g

As you’ve probably noticed, my recipe today is not green. This is because I totally forgot about St. Patrick’s Day when I was planning this weeks recipes.

Eh, there’s always next year.

And really, rice pudding could practically be the food of St. Patrick’s Day, it being a perfect breakfast after a long night of drinking Guinness… right?

How do you encourage yourself to continue pushing toward your BIG goals?

What are some big goals that you’ve set for this year?

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. I’m not a cherry fan but the cinnamon rice pudding sounds really yummy! Maybe I’ll do something with apples for a topping.

    Regarding the marathon training – sometimes your body knows when enough is enough. Don’t feel bad about skipping a long run or a midweek run and then picking it back up later on. You might put yourself a week behind but that’s okay. Sometimes the rest is better for you than pushing through on a run and feeling bad about it. I think it’s better to do a race undertrained and uninjured than to do all the miles and run the race with an injury. Some runners might disagree with me but for me, I got away with 16 miles as my longest training run (mind you, I had done a 30K several months before the actual marathon). I had a nagging knee injury that I didn’t want to aggrivate. Good luck and don’t feel bad about an occasional break from training!

    My big goals for the year are – a career change and buying my own place :)

    • Thanks for your encouragement Vicky! I give myself plenty of rest, I just get scared of the changes that are happening and then try to talk myself out of my goals. Gotta keep on keepin’ on. Your goals sound fantastic, I can see that both will bring you so much happiness. There’s something to be said for buying your own home. When I did it, I felt SO accomplished. Way to go!

  2. First of all, I love your new picture–so pretty!

    Setting small goals is so important to avoid setting yourself up failure! I’ve been trying to increase my mileage (I seem to be stuck at 5 miles)–so I’m incorporating an extra 5 minutes or so onto each run. That way I’ll build up my mileage with small steps, rather than trying to do it all at once! You’ve got this girl! :)

    Using a larabar as a sauce is genius! I’m definitely going to try that! :)

    • You’re so right! Sometimes I feel like I bite off more than I can chew when I don’t set up smaller goals. I love the idea of adding 5 minutes to each run instead of basing your goal off how many miles you complete. I find minutes are an easier pill to swallow. No idea why that makes sense. Maybe less pressure? I can’t wait to hear how your training is coming along. It’s one tough road!
      The larabar sauce was a desperate attempt to make cherry sauce when I couldn’t find ANY sugar free dried cherries in the city. I’ve made it a couple of times this week and I’m in love!

  3. I know exactly how you feel… my goals were even smaller than that when I started running again (and sometimes I still have to run and … mostly walk when my ankle pain reemerges…) but I am getting there, and YOU ARE TOO ! :) small goals like that are great, reachable while still taking care of yourself and injury.

    larabar sauce?? you are so creative!

    • I’ve definitely learned throughout my training journey that slow and steady wins the race. No sense biting off more than we can chew and ending up in pain. [Those darn ankle/knee pains, they're the WORST, aren't they?]

    • Thanks Lauren! Apple pie and Lemon are my favorite LARABARs I don’t know if I could eat a full cherry pie just because it’s so sour, but it worked perfectly on top of this pudding! You have to try a LARABAR. They are the bestest! Have a great day :)

  4. That is so impressive to be training at the intensity you are after an injury you are strong and powerful if you werent you wouldnt be where you are today! And that rice pudding looks insanely good you are so creative :)

    • This is the nicest thing I’ve heard all day. Thank you for your encouragement and support Kate. shucks :)

  5. The last few weeks I’ve really been pushing it with my training and now I’m starting to feel the pain. Two days ago I got hit hard with the pains of shin splints. My legs have been throbbing for two days now, I’ve soaked in ice baths, stretched, and am now thinking of taking of few days off to recover. Endurance training is so hard because you want to tell yourself to just keep going, but you also really have to listen to your body. I can see now that it’s more importnat for me to be uninjured and finish than injured and unable to finish.

    And I am all over this rice pudding! I think I could easily enjoy this during my next ice bath soak ;)

    • Shin splints are the worst. It’s great that you’re taking ice bath soaks, those will help. Take it easy Steph.

  6. Hmm, I love the cherry pie LARABAR – what a great idea, making it into a SAUCE! I made some quick tapioca pudding last night for dessert, but this sounds WAY better.

    • It was my first time trying cherry LARABAR. I was impressed! Tapioca pudding… that’s something I don’t think I’ve ever tried! I’ll have to give that a go next.

  7. Nice post, Leanne. I wrote something similar in my blog — about running and how not believing in yourself is the biggest obstacle. Just keep at it! Don’t give up.

    I love this recipe! I love rice pudding but it’s once of those things I forget about and never think to make. I really like the idea of using almond milk for some additional flavor, and the LARABAR topper is super cool!

    • It is the biggest obstacle. I find my body is up for the challenge, but my mind isn’t. I was not expecting this at all.

  8. You’re doing an amazing thing! Most people can’t even get motivated enough for any kind of exercise and here you are training for a marathon! You have my upmost respect (and support – I have pom poms.) Good luck and remember, you are awesome!

    Oh, and way to wow me with the yummy pudding :)

  9. Good work on identifying your obstacle and come up with a plan to overcome it! Training for a big goal can be daunting at times especially with injury management looming in the background. I have a big goal to achieve in 2011 too, one that I’ve been training for since 2007. After putting in years of hard training, I often doubt myself if I can accomplish this goal. What if my best is not good enough? My coach gave me a piece of advice that helps me in those moments. She said if it is not hard and the thought of quitting never crosses my mind, I’m probably not training hard enough.

    Keep up the good work. You can do it.

    • Wow, that is a lot of training. It makes me feel like my 8 months of training is a walk in the park. Way to go! That’s amazing.

  10. Good idea to make a sauce out of a LARABAR! This rice pudding sounds divine. When I am setting goals for myself I try and set 1 major long term goal that I want to accomplish, and mini goals to help me get to that point. Sometimes it’s hard to continue when you aren’t seeing results or not the results that you hope for, but it all eventually works out. When I was a swimmer I had a hard time staying positive during the training part of the season but once I reached the competition part of the season I could tell I had been improving. Keep a positive attitude and you will do great!

  11. Yummy recipe as always!
    You should always believe in yourself, just see what you’ve accomplished already :) I have the same obstacle. I always double question and mostly don’t believe in myself which only brings me down!

  12. Oooh! Larabar sauce :) That is the coolest idea! I really like the cherry larabars and I’m sure they taste lovely with comforting rice and cinnamon. Take it easy with your knee, one day at a time. I know you can do it!!!

  13. As soon as I start seeing small improvements, that alone makes me wanna keep pushing forward. That cinnamon rise pudding looks amazing!! How inventive to make a sauce out of a larabar, love it! :D

  14. This dessert looks very good. I like rice and such dessert Im sure I would love and especially with cherries

  15. Good luck with your goals ! You’ll get there ! I love rice pudding and I think I must try to make this soon. It sounds incredible.

  16. Besides the fact that this rice pudding is about to make an appearance in my recipe vocabulary, I am so inspired by your words on accomplishing goals. Keep up the good work, girl! You’re such an inspiration.

    • Your kitchen [and taste buds] will thank you! Thanks for your kind and supportive words, Jessamyn. I hope you’re having a fantastic Sunday :)

  17. This looks dee-licious :) Love rice pudding. I haven’t had any since becoming fully vegan, though, so this is really exciting.

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