almond butter

Pumpkin Bread

How is Thanksgiving next week already?  It just doesn’t seem right.  But, I enjoy the time that you can get fresh cranberries at the grocery store, eat your fill of everything cranberry, and have an excuse to make more pumpkin baked goods.  I will be making this bread to take to our Thanksgiving gathering.  It is also good any time of year as part of breakfast, a snack, or dessert.

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Chocolate Bacon Cake

I must be on a sweets kick lately :).

I wanted to make my husband a special birthday cake but still stick with the no white sugar, flour, or dairy theme.  If you lived here, you would hear how much bacon is requested each day for at least one of our meals.  After doing a long of thinking, I wondered, “What would a chocolate cake with bacon mixed in it and on top of it taste like?”  All my conscience kept answering was, “Sounds pretty amazing to me.”  I was very excited to give it a try and make it a nice surprise for his birthday.

Trouble is, I haven’t been able to find a good recipe yet for a homemade chocolate cake that is my “go-to.”  I was browsing online, and saw a link for the Paleo Baking Company, and began looking at their mixes.  The ingredients for the chocolate cake and muffin mix are simple:  cocoa, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.  You have to add eggs, coconut oil (or butter), honey (or syrup), and water.  I decided to take a chance and try this mix.  Yes, it is more expensive than regular cake mixes, but seeing as how a birthday is a once a year event, I didn’t feel bad splurging a bit.  The cake turned out great; it was moist and didn’t taste like coconut at all (I am not too fond of coconut flavor!)

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

With fall officially being here, let the pumpkin craze begin.  I have traditionally been a pumpkin pie kind of person on Thanksgiving Day, then not a pumpkin person on too many other days.  (Plus I enjoyed my pumpkin pie with more Cool Whip than pie, oops!!)  In the past few years, however, I have grown to like it more and have tried it in a breakfast smoothie and different kinds of bars.

Last week I was going to get one of the smaller cans of pumpkin to try this cookie recipe.  I don’t think I have ever encountered this before, but every brand of the small cans of pumpkin was sold out, and there was only the giant cans left.  I figured I could just make a double batch of cookies and use it up.  Well, we got our double batch of cookies, plus a loaf of pumpkin bread, plus a batch of chocolate pumpkin muffins, plus a pumpkin smoothie for me this morning.  It’s a good thing these baked goods will freeze well, and a good thing that we have a nice variety of them so we don’t get sick of pumpkin :).

Anyhow, the first batch of cookies I made was under baked.  It made them really hard to get off of the cookie sheet and then again really hard to get off of the cooling rack (but in the end, this didn’t bother me because I like my cookies moist and gooey).  I believe I baked those for ~11 min.  The second batch came out much less gooey, and I baked them for ~14 min.  I’m not sure that you can get a crunchy cookie out of these in that the pumpkin and nut butter add so much moisture to the mix.  I am not a fan of having nuts in cookies, so I omitted them.  If I make these again I think they would be good with some dried cranberries in them.

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Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

This has become one of my favorite breakfast smoothies.  It seems that recently I have been having this at least once per week.  I call it my “chocolate ice cream” for breakfast :).  Unlike some other smoothies I have had, it is also quite filling.  I like to have it with 2 chicken apple sausage links to make sure I get some protein.

Let’s face it, I’m no photographer, so it was hard to get a “good” picture of this one.  It may not look the greatest from the picture, but it is worth trying!

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Chocolate Muffins

This has been a week of cravings for me:  bad cravings.  I have wanted ice cream, cake with frosting, cookies, pretty much anything junk food that is really bad for me.  I am of the belief that sometimes those cravings just won’t go away until you indulge in whatever junk you keep craving; however, now I am able to do so without totally “violating” my diet changes, and risking feeling like crap later or the next day.  We have tried several muffin recipes, and this one is on the list that has been made several times.  There is not a huge list of ingredients, and it’s chocolate, enough to help with a girl’s sweet cravings :).

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Double Chocolate Cookies

If there was a category for “favorite sweet treats,” these cookies would definitely be included.  They were the first dessert that I made after finding out about the dietary changes I would be making.  The recipe was given to me by a co-worker, and I remember her saying something to the effect of, “I wouldn’t feel bad about feeding this to one of my kids for breakfast.”  A cookie for breakfast?  Yes, please!!  🙂

Although it is very tempting to eat all of these before even packing them up into a storage container, I have to still consider them “dessert.”  On top of that, although the chocolate chips are dairy-free, they do still contain evaporated cane sugar, which I am supposed to limit in my diet as well.  I bet they would still be good without the chocolate chips though.

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No-Bake Cookies

Seeing this recipe brought back memories of ~7-8 years ago.  I was in PT school, living by myself, and it was hard cooking for one (and being on a grad student budget).  When I had a sweet tooth, often I would bake something and then share with some of my classmates.  When I didn’t have the time, patience, and/or ingredients to bake, I would grab a pan and make no-bake cookies.  This was also at a time that I was doing a lot of running to train for 1/2 marathons, so I didn’t feel guilty for making a pan of no-bake cookie “dough” and eating it straight out of the pan (it is possible this served as dinner at times as well).  I figured that I would “burn it off” when doing a long run the next day.  I’m pretty sure that the recipe I used contained at least 2 cups of white sugar, as well as containing milk.

Gone are the days of having cookie dough for dinner, but the occasional craving for a no-bake cookie remains every now and again.  So, when I found this recipe I was glad to give it a try.  The original recipe can be found at:

http://sweettreatsbyshayna.blogspot.com/2011/10/no-bake-paleo-cookies.html.

I couldn’t imagine “ruining” my no-bake cookies with coconut flakes ( I just can’t make myself like the taste or texture of most things coconut), so I decided to substitute gluten-free quick-cooking oats.  It took a little more than 1 cup to make it so that the cookies were not too runny.  I think that next time I make these I will use less pecans.  I didn’t mind the flavor of them in the cookies, but it seemed like they were always getting stuck in my teeth :0

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