Maple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I’ve been super absent here lately.

It’s mostly because I’ve been working eleventy-billion hours, which means I’ve been exhausted and never home. And the tiny bit of free time that I’m able to grab has been devoted to trip planning for two big upcoming international trips. So suffice to say, I haven’t been cooking much lately, and haven’t had the energy to try new recipes. And the few new recipes I have tried have been kind of meh. And you deserve better than meh.

maple peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie baked

These are definitely not meh. They’re not the most amazingly glorious things you’ve ever put in your mouth, but they are delicious and sweet and pretty darn healthy when it comes down to it. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m always on the lookout for good gluten-free recipes that use normal ingredients.

Maple Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

They have an interesting texture—the dough acts a lot like no-bake cookie dough, quite sticky. And the baked cookies are crumbly (not dry, just break apart easily), and super chocolate-y, and really quite sweet.

Maple Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Milk

These are made with oat flour, peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup. You can use whatever kind of chocolate chips you want, but I tried these huge Ghiradelli dark chocolate discs. SO. MUCH. CHOCOLATE.

maple peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough

Overall these were a great gluten-free addition to my repertoire. They were super easy to throw together, and healthy enough that I didn’t feel guilty sneaking one or two with my coffee the next morning! [Read more…]

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie

Cookie cakes are a big meh for me usually. One time my co-worker had this incredibly detailed dream, and part of it was that I got married at work (like seriously, back in the open-office plan desks) and there was a cookie cake.

And I was like, “Well, that’s how you should have known it wasn’t real! I hate cookie cakes!”

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie

I don’t know what possessed me to try this deep-dish cookie pie originally. I was home for Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is a whirlwind of giant family meals, needing to feed 15 people, 25 people, 35 people. Lots of dishes. Loading and unloading things from the car. Figuring out what gaps there are in the list of food everyone’s bringing. So I vaguely remember needing to throw together a dessert last-minute, so it needed to be simple, a crowd-pleaser, and ready to walk out the door in under an hour.

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie done

The result was WAAAAAYYYYY too sweet for me, but I could see the seeds of something good and easy in there, so I shelved it until I could play around with ingredients a little. Now, three or four batches later, I love the result.

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie finished

By decreasing the sugar significantly, substituting some whole wheat flour, adding peanut butter and dark chocolate chips instead of just semi-sweet, and throwing a sprinkle of sea salt, the resulting skillet cookie is sweet but not cloying, a little denser, and offers infinitely more complex flavors (also healthier, but that wasn’t the main point). If an achingly sweet version sounds good to you, don’t fear—the original is linked at the bottom of this post. But this version is much more up my alley, and has been pronounced AMAZING by some of the dudes in my life, so it’s still a major crowd-pleaser.
[Read more…]

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

“Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.” ~ Marilyn Wann

That quote basically encapsulates my struggle right now. I love food. I don’t believe in diets, because I think that permanently denying yourself foods will just make you want them more. Plus, why take all the fun out of life?? But I am trying to be good most of the time right now. And looking at these pictures is pure torture, because I remember how GOOOOOOD these cinnamon rolls were.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

But I have a secret. I’m not really into cinnamon rolls. Except these cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are like if you just took the gooey center of the roll (the only good part) and made it ALL of the roll.

THESE CINNAMON ROLLS ARE EVERYTHING.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting done

People had raved about The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe, so when I decided to try my hand at cinnamon rolls I knew I had to try these ones. I was scared, honestly. Cinnamon rolls look like so much work, and I’ve never thought they were worth the effort. Boy, was I wrong.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting cut2

These are 5-star levels of gooey, they’re sweet, they’re maple-y, the bread is moist and soft. Perfect. They’re perfect. And they were actually not that hard to make. Yes, there were a few steps, but they weren’t hard or even super time consuming. I just had to plan ahead in terms of starting them the night before, but otherwise they came together pretty easily.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting 2

How decadent are these cinnamon rolls?? Well, I polished off the last four (DON’T JUDGE.) the morning that I gave blood (so I could start eating healthy the next day, natch), and when my cholesterol results came back they were like 50 points higher than normal. It was insane. Granted, I’d also had like seven of them the day before. Still. Crazy. [Read more…]

Frittata with Turkey Sausage, Parsnips, & Goat Cheese

Guys, why have I never thought to put meat in a frittata?? What is wrong with me???

Frittata with Caramelized Onions, Parsnips, & Goat Cheese

I went to visit my bestie in Dallas, since it had been way too long and I hadn’t met her bebe girl yet. I actually got to see my friend Hannah as well and her new little boy. Girls’ brunches are the best—look at those nuggets! They were quickly losing patience with us…

girls brunch babies

The day before, Kristine and I had a girls’ brunch with some other friends at her house. We didn’t want to go to a ton of trouble, but knew we’d all be starving so we needed to make hearty food. We also needed to make sure it was dairy-free since dairy seemed to upset the baby…and that does limit things a bit.

Frittata with Turkey Sausage, Parsnips, & Goat Cheese

Finally we settled on French toast (with almond milk) and a frittata with goat cheese, which was deeeeelish! We basically made a “kitchen sink” frittata, meaning I cleaned out her fridge of veggies and just threw them all in there.

frittata with turkey sausage parsnips & goat cheese french toast

The surprise in this, besides the turkey sausage, is the parsnips. I feel like parsnips don’t get enough love. They’re sweeter than a potato, milder than a carrot, and easier to prepare than a turnip (ugh, peeling turnips is the worst). When sauteed or roasted, they caramelize into this delightfully nutty sweet crunchy awesomeness. We had some extras in the fridge because we made my shepherds pie with goat cheese carrot parsnip mash (amazeballs) the night before. I used the parsnips and onions as the base or “crust” of the frittata, then we also piled in more onions, spinach, and tomatoes, as well as the goat cheese and turkey sausage.

‘Nuff said. [Read more…]

Balsamic Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

That’s right, we’re still on a healthy kick! And it’s delicious!

Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts

This recipe had been calling my name for a while, but getting decent brussels sprouts is kind of hard right now, and I also kind of avoid chicken when I can. Chicken’s kind of boring.

Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts done

This chicken isn’t boring at all—it’s got a richness from the balsamic, a crunch from the walnuts, and serious fiber from brussels sprouts. It came together super fast and made for great work lunches for a few days.

Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts with sides

Throw in a side of spaghetti squash and butternut squash and you’re on healthy overload! Seriously, the whole thing is a 20-minute meal, was super easy, and totally delicious! [Read more…]

Churro Popovers

Oh my word, THESE POPOVERS.

Churro Popovers

These are heaven. They are light, puffy, buttery, cinnamony-sweet heaven. And they’re so fast and easy!

Churro Popovers done

I halved the recipe, since I was only cooking for me (yes, it still made 7 popovers, DON’T JUDGE ME). It’s so insanely fast, you just blend up the ingredients in your blender (or with a whisk) while the oven heats up, and like 20 minutes later you have piping hot popovers. It’s impressive, really. [Read more…]

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies

This is a very simple cookie.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies

It came about because I was visiting my best friend in Dallas last month. We were craving sweets but she’s given up dairy for a while because it seems to upset her baby’s tummy. We wanted to make chocolate chip cookies but that was out because of the dairy in the chocolate chips. So after some recipe searching, we found these lovely, comforting cookies.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies baked

These are basically like oatmeal raisin cookies, without the raisins (because, ick). We gorged on them and sat on the couch and watched “10 Things I Hate About You” and it was wonderful. These ended up being dinner that night at the airport, as well as breakfast with my coffee the next morning at work.  [Read more…]

Healthy Eating in 2015…Back to Basics

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I don’t judge people for making them or anything, but I’m more of a believer in making a change as soon as you see the need for it, not waiting for some contrived start date. Plus, if my old gym was any indication, few people keep them. It was nuts there the first few weeks of January, then back to normal within a month.

HOWEVER, I know that lots of you are making resolutions right now, and I myself have definitely slipped into bad habits over the last few months. I’ve got to lock it down now. Every time I call the Chinese place I want to go all Becca on myself…

Here is my healthy manifesto, though:

1) Healthy doesn’t mean unsatisfying—I believe things can taste good AND be good for you.

2) This is NOT a diet, this is about making good choices most of the time. I don’t believe in diets. Diets involve deprivation, and when you tell yourself you can’t have something it just makes you want it more. They’re unsustainable and that means that eventually people revert to their old ways. Plus, they’re just not fun, and I believe in fun. (And food. I love food.)

3) Quality of food  (i.e. packed with as many nutrients & as few chemicals as possible) is much more important than type, quantity, fat content, etc. And exercise is and always will be critical. Never underestimate the power of walking. Walking is amazing for body and soul.

So I’ve outlined some of my favorite healthy recipes below. This is as much for me as anyone else…for the last few months my schedule has been insane and I’ve been totally exhausted. That means I’ve been choosing convenience over everything else, eating out more often and have lacked the willpower to use portion control like I should. So now that I’ve had a week or so to decompress, I’m getting back to my good habits. [Read more…]

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze

Isn’t it great that breakfast means you can have all kinds of dessert-y things but it’s totally fine because it’s breakfast? Like, people would find you weird if you ate chocolate cake for breakfast, but coffee cake? Totally cool.

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze

This is one of those super-good-desserts-but-also-totally-appropriate-for-breakfast recipes. It’s adapted from an apple cake I made a while ago—I remember thinking at the time that I just HAD to try it with pears (one of my favorite fruits), but never got around to it. This winter break I found myself with several insanely juicy and fragrant Harry & David pears and knew right away what I must do with them.

Pear Cake with Honey Glaze done

This cake really is the best of both worlds. It’s my kind of dessert—lightly sweet, hearty, a mix of warm and comforting flavors. But it’s also really quite healthy. I use white whole wheat flour entirely, which not only gives it lots of fiber but also a wonderful nutty flavor and great texture. It’s made with oil, I cut back on the sugar the original recipe calls for, and it’s full of fruit and nuts as well. As breakfast goes from time to time, you could do worse.

pear cake with honey glaze pears

Look at these guys…aren’t they gorgeous?! [Read more…]

Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie with Drop Biscuit Topping

Last weekend I had a plan. I knew that I only had two days of work to get through before break, including two work lunches and a dinner with friends, so I didn’t need to cook enough on Sunday for leftovers. I also wanted to be healthy, so I had some brussels sprouts sitting around and I planned to pick up a salmon filet for dinner, call it a day.

Then this pot pie totally derailed my Sunday dinner plans.

Chicken Pot Pie with Drop Biscuit Crust done

See, last Sunday (and several days thereafter) was just relentlessly gray. Gray, misty, chilly. One of those days where the only then you want to do is curl up in your jammie jams on the couch and read a book, then watch TCM for hours. The kind of day where you get the idea of chicken pot pie stuck in your head and you’re unable to dislodge it despite your best efforts and lazier tendences.

Chicken Pot Pie with Drop Biscuit Crust dipped up

The thing is, I’d never made pot pie before. And honestly, I like pot pie just fine (anything with “pie” in the name, really), my mom’s is good, but pot pie isn’t a thing I’ve ever really craved. Pasta-as-comfort-food is more my style. So I didn’t have a triend-and-true recipe that I was willing to undertake, since I definitely didn’t want to deal with pie crust. In my mind, I was picturing making the filling in a slow cooker, and then topping with a drop biscuit crust—seemed easy enough. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a crockpot chicken pot pie filling recipe I liked (that didn’t include cream of chicken soup) or even a biscuit-topped pot pie for cooking times and so forth, so I decided to make it up as I went, pulling bits and pieces from some recipes and just using my brain for the other parts.

chicken pot pie with drop biscuit crust cooking

This chicken pot pie is probably the best I’ve ever had. Okay, not probably, DEFINITELY. It’s warm and hearty and comforting and feels decadent, but is secretly really healthy and easy and basically perfect. It’s great as leftovers. The biscuit crust is amazing. I could just eat the filling as a stew (which is saying something because I’m not keen on stew). What I’m saying is that you need to make this pot pie now. [Read more…]

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