Peppermint Cookie Bars

In the past, I was never big on mint flavored foods (except when talking about the Girl Scout cookies I used to eat – nothing better than those thin mint cookies) but I’ve taken a special liking to it lately.  I think it’s because of the season – peppermint brings back memories of Christmas time for me.  It reminds me of candy canes and snow, hot tea and cozy fireplaces.  I’ve been drinking mugs of peppermint tea, which I find soothing to the stomach and nibbling on plenty of minty-flavored chocolates.

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With all these peppermint cravings, I figured it was about time to experiment in the kitchen as well.  Hence the formation of these Peppermint Cookie Bars, which have just the right amount of mint and plenty of chocolate to go around.

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These three layered bars have a soft, cookie base, buttery-smooth chocolate filling and sweet chocolate drizzle.  Both the base and filling have the perfect hint of peppermint.  These bars are Paleo, Vegan and allergy-friendly (no eggs, nuts, dairy, gluten, grains, soy or corn). Another plus: they’re raw, so no baking is involved!

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I think it’s safe to say that Santa would be quite happy eating some of these after a quick visit to your house 😉  Especially alongside a warm cup of almond milk or hot cocoa.

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Hazelnut Cocoa Cookies

I always feel like I’ve accomplished something good in the world when I create a recipe like this one – a recipe that is free of gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, soy, corn and refined sugar but still tastes like it could be unhealthy.  It’s *almost* allergy friendly, which would have been even more of an accomplishment, but I wanted to make a hazelnut cookie and well, hazelnuts are nuts which is a common allergen.

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But rather than focus on what these aren’t, I want to focus on what they are.  These are Paleo and Vegan cookies.  They are soft, moist and sweet.  They are almost like a brownie.  They truly are a cookie you need to try for yourself.

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Paleo Sugar Cookies

Not only are these sugar cookies Paleo, but they are nut free as well!  I find that SO many Paleo recipes contain nuts, especially in the form of almond flour.  I rarely use almond flour in my baking, mostly because it is expensive but also because we eat quite a few nuts/nut butters and I feel that adding almond flour on top of that would be just a bit too much nut consumption.  I also know that many people have nut allergies and so I try to make some nut-free recipes to cater to those dietary restrictions as well.  Heck, my son even went through a brief period where he was avoiding nuts!

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All that being said, these cookies do have coconut; which I do not consider a nut.  I looked it up and apparently a coconut is a seed, a fruit, and a nut all in one…also called a drupe!  A quick definition can be found HERE.

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Anyway, here we go…nut-free, Paleo-friendly sugar cookies.  They are sweetened with maple syrup, contain only 8 ingredients and have an extra protein kick thanks to the collagen.

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Paleo Gingerbread Muffins

I wasn’t sure if I liked gingerbread or not, so I figured, why not create a gingerbread recipe!?  My conclusion?  I DO like it, yes, I like gingerbread very much!

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Before I got started on this recipe, I had to do a quick internet search to make sure I had the correct flavor combinations (ginger, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, molasses) and then I got right to experimenting.  My first batch turned out lacking in flavor.  I think I was timid about adding too much ginger.  What I ultimately found was that I’m not a big fan of cloves (a little goes a long way) but plenty of ginger tastes great.

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Another thing I realized was just how much the use of baking soda makes bread products rise!  Unlike most of my muffin recipes, these are not dense and moist but rather light, fluffy and airy.  They aren’t dry, just much more like the texture of a cupcake than a muffin in my opinion.  However, I decided to call these muffins instead of cupcakes because I equate cupcakes with lots of sugar and frosting and these don’t meet those requirements 😉

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These Paleo Gingerbread Muffins are Paleo (obviously), nut-free and only sweetened with molasses (although you can add more sugar/sweetener if you prefer).  Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients – it only seems like a lot because in order to get the gingerbread flavor you have to use quite a few different spices.  The recipe itself is extremely easy to follow and these muffins take less than 15 minutes to bake.

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Fall Salad

Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean I’m taking salads out of my diet.  In fact, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that salads are almost a daily occurrence.  What can I say?  I love my greens! 🙂  What does change are the toppings I add to my salad.

This fall inspired salad is great eaten as a single serving (like I’ve shown here) or prepared as a side dish to share.  Like all my salad recipes, I do not list quantities – as those may vary depending on your taste preference and the number of people you wish to feed. Read More

How to Make an Avocado Rose

I’ve had many people ask me how I make an avocado rose like the ones you often see in my Instagram feed.  So, I finally put together a little how-to for all of you.

Making an avocado rose is actually pretty easy.  All you need is a ripe avocado, flat surface and sharp knife…okay, and a little patience 😉  So, let’s get started on this step-by-step avocado rose tutorial: Read More

25 Christmas Gifts for a Healthy Lifestyle

Finding the perfect gift for someone can either be extremely easy, or the hardest task on my to-do list (yah hear me?)!  Some years I’m completely inspired by something and I know the perfect gift to give…while other years I am totally stumped!  I have quite a few fun ideas this year and I thought I’d share 25 Christmas (or any holiday) gift ideas that add to a healthy lifestyle. Read More

Vanilla Protein Muffins

These protein muffins may not look like much, but they taste amazing!  I’ve tried a lot of protein muffins and breads and they often turn out dry or just “off”.  But these Vanilla Protein Muffins are moist and flavorful.  These moist protein muffins are low carb, gluten-free, free of refined sugar and only require 5 ingredients.

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I usually have enough time in the morning to make a decent breakfast so I have been eating these as in-between meal snacks.  But they would make a great quick breakfast as well; especially if topped with some nut butter or cream cheese 😉

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