Friday, October 30, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Tomorrow is Halloween.  This is the first time in a long time I am not dressing up. : (  I love theme parties, and in the past have thrown quite a few for Halloween.  Unfortunately, a lot of friends were going to be out of town or busy this weekend so we opted not to throw a party this year.  It's all year we will throw an awesome one and God willing we will have our baby to dress up in a fun costume as well!

I can't believe the Holiday season is upon us already!  So much fun is up ahead in the next few months!  Best of all Christmas when I can see most of my siblings again for a few days...darn this distance between us all!

In other news - my parent's dog, Flopsy, just became a first time Mamma!  She had 6 little pups, but only 3 of them made it.  The 3 that survived are strong little guys with jet black coats and are busy wearing out Flopsy with their needy little whimpers. : )  Right now they look like little rats, but in a few weeks they are going to be adorable miniature schnauzer puppies...then they will be wearing my parents out as well!

Pregnancy update!  I am 19 weeks along, and my belly is finally popping out!  It is such a weird feeling to have this extra weight in my mid section area - I know I'm not that big, but I already feel like a house that will knock everything down in my way. ; )  It is getting more difficult to move quickly, and my workouts have slowed down in pace since I get winded so much faster now.  Thankfully my appetite is back and I am eating food again!  Hopefully this will translate into more recipe posts as well.  : )

I realized that I didn't have a go to chocolate chip oat cookie recipe...and that just wasn't going to work for me.  I played around with a few recipes and came up with this gem!  The trick to these cookies is 1) using two kinds of oats - this jumps up the texture appeal, and 2) you must not over bake the cookies...if you do, they will be dry : (

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup old fashion oats
1/2 cup quick cooking oats or ground whole oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In small bowl mix: oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips.  Set aside.

In large mixing bowl beat butter and sugars until creamy - 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl a few times.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.  Scrape with spatula and mix again for a few seconds.

Scoop out 2 TBS size balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 10-11 not over bake!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Pregnancy is weird.  I always heard that you crave certain strange foods while you are pregnant, like pickles and ice cream...yuck.  I keep waiting for the food cravings to kick in, but it seems like I am still in the "food aversion" stage of this.  Sadly this means my cooking has been cut way back, as in I don't really cook dinner that much anymore.  My poor husband has been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches most nights for dinner.

This weekend I was napping and started thinking about Jambalaya for some strange reason.  I woke up from my nap and went straight to the store for the ingredients before I decided to have an aversion to this idea...haha...I like to move on my ideas very quickly!  This recipe was actually pretty easy and turned out delicious!  It makes enough for 6-8 people for dinner.  You could also make it meatless and omit the chicken and sausage, use vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth, and add shrimp or black beans at the end.


  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped 
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white jasmine or brown rice*
  • 1 Tbsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

  • (optional) 2 cup sliced okra
In large soup/stock pot heat the olive oil.  Add the sausage and brown 1-2 minutes.  Then add the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes until no longer pink.  Remove sausage and chicken from pan, leaving the fat in the pan.  

Add the chopped onions, peppers, celery and garlic to the pan.  Saute 5-7 minutes over medium high heat.  Add the meat back into the pan.  Add the chicken stock, canned tomatoes, rice and seasonings.  Stir to combine.  Cover with lid and cook over medium/low heat 30-40 minutes until rice is tender.  Stir every 5-8 minutes to ensure rice isn't sticking to the bottom and burning.  If your rice is not cooked through and the liquid is evaporated add some more water until rice is cooked.

Once rice is cooked add the okra, stir, and cook 5-10 minutes until okra is tender.  

* Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice, and sometimes requires more liquid too...just keep an eye on it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Oh Fall!  So looking forward to you for so many reasons:

1)  Moving into my second trimester!  Everyone says the 2nd trimester is much better than the first...looking forward to not feeling yucky all the time!  Did I mention I was having a baby! : )  The little munchkin is the size of a lemon right now and we are grateful for his strong heartbeat (we do not know the gender, but will refer to the baby as "he" until it is born)

2)  THE WEATHER!  Fall weather makes me so happy!  It makes me want to be outside all the time!  I just want to go outside and take really long deep breathes of the delicious Fall air.   By far the best season of the year!  All my workouts must be outside now!

3)  Our 1 year marriage anniversary in November!  Dang, that was a fast year!  A good year, and somehow I love him more and more every darn day.  He is basically the best husband ever : )

4)  Our family Portugal Trip!  My parents and 2 of my siblings and I are travelling to Portugal for a tour led by my Aunt.  We are looking forward to it!  I am really looking forward to the food!

5)  THE BAKING!  Oh so many things to bake in the Fall.  Next on my list is apple fritters...doesn't that sound divine?

My pregnancy has given me some really lovely heartburn and indigestion...yuck.  Gluten doesn't help it, so I am trying to stay away from it for a while.  I know I should also stay away from sugar, but at this point most of my food groups are off limits so I am just eating what I can.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Recipe

5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin (I used Pink Lady and Honey Crisp)
1 TBS apple juice (or lemon)
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS honey
pinch of cloves

Crisp Topping:
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 stick butter diced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 cake pan.  Toss the filling ingredients together and set aside.  Place all of the crisp ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle a small layer of the crisp on the bottom of the pan.  Pour in filling and spread evenly.  Top with the remaining crisp topping.  Bake 30-40 minutes until crisp.  Serve warm with fresh whipped cream, mascarpone cheese, or ice cream.  This made really delicious leftovers too...if there are any!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes that happen to be gluten free!

I don't know about you, but my weekend never feels complete unless I have partaken in the eating of pancakes or waffles at least once.  It is just so nice to have a break from my regular oatmeal or smoothie that I eat during the week.  Andrew always makes fun of me though because as soon as I finish eating said pancakes or waffles I immediately start complaining about how my body is in carb overload and how I need to just go back to bed.  Haha such a vicious cycle : ), but totally worth it.

I have tried a few gluten free pancake recipes and most of them taste like yuck and the texture is just I was so happy to find a recipe that actually tasted delicious!  I have also been in the Fall mood with the very slight drop in temperature so decided these pancakes must have apples!

"Everything can have drama if it's done right. 
Even a pancake." - Julia Child

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes
adapted from

Mix together the following ingredients:

1 apple diced small (I peeled mine, but feel free to leave the peel on if you want)
1 cup oat flour (grind the oats in a food processor or blender until fine)
1/3 cup quick cook oats or regular oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon

In separate small bowl mix together these ingredients then add to the above:

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk or milk alternative (almond, rice, cashew, etc...)
2 TBS honey

After wet and dry ingredients are mixed add and mix until combined:

2 TBS coconut oil melted

Cook on hot griddle coated with butter or coconut oil.  Enjoy with hot maple syrup and a chunk of butter.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Refined sugar free, nut free - Chewy Raisin Snack Cookies

I am always on the search for a healthy snack option that isn't a store bought granola bar.  I have made a few granola bars recently, but haven't had a lot of success making ones without refined sugar in them.  I came across this recipe on the "Deliciously Ella" blog that my good friend told me about.

There were a few things that I really liked about this recipe:

1)  No refined sugar
2)  No gluten
3)  No dairy
4)  No nuts, which mean pretty low in fat content then
5)  Shredded apples in a cookie?  Say what?

I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised.  The texture is very different then normal cookies, but the flavor makes up for it.  These are a healthy nut free snack that I will definitely be making again!

Chewy Raisin Snack Cookies
Adapted and converted from Deliciously Ella blog

2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
4 ripe bananas
3 TBS Honey
1 1/2 cups raisins
3 medium apples (I used pink ladies)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grate the apples (no need to peel them) and place them in a small bowl.  Drain the excess liquid from the grated apples using a sieve. (fyi, drain the liquid into a bowl so you can drink some really delicious freshly squeezed apple juice - this step of straining is super important or the cookies will be too wet and fall apart) Then in another bowl mash the bananas. Then mix the grated apples and bananas with all the remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Scoop a heaped tablespoon of the mix and pat it lightly into flat cookies shape on the tray, do this until all the mixture has been used.  Batter will be slightly loose so you may have to squish the batter together.  If you don't want to bake them all at once, you can scoop some onto a parchment lined pan and stick them into the freezer.  Once frozen you can throw them in a freezer bag until ready to bake. Should yield 30 cookies.

Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes until they turn golden brown, at this point take them out the oven and let them cool slightly.  If the raisins look like they are burning then they are most definitely done!  You can store them in an airtight container on the counter or in the refrigerator. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thai Chicken with Peanut Dressing

Today's Gospel reading is one of my favorites!  Whenever I am stressed and overwhelmed by the world and all the horrible news it is such a good reminder to just hand it all over to God and He will give you rest and peace.  

Can you imagine if there was a building where everyone could just go and throw away all of their worries, their pains, their hurts and their burdens?  Then leave 100% refreshed and rejuvenated!  First of all, logistically it would have to be a ridiculously huge building.  Second of all, the line would be out the door always!  

Imagine if you had the golden ticket and didn't have to wait in the lines or make your way through the crowds to get to this place of refreshment and rest.  No matter the time or day - you had 100% access to this place where you could just lay all your burdens down?

News flash!  You have the golden ticket!  I have the golden ticket!  We all have the golden ticket!  We all have 100% no restriction access to give our burdens to Jesus whenever we want!  The question is, are you using your golden ticket?

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

And then there was chicken, and it was good. : )

When I lived in California I discovered Thai food!  I grew up eating Chinese food and didn't even realize I had options when it came to Asian cuisine...I know, how narrow minded of me. : )  Thai food is so much fresher and healthier tasting then traditional Chinese dishes.  Thai food uses a lot of sauteing instead of deep frying like the Chinese dishes I used to eat.  Thai food also tends to be a bit more spicy instead of sweet, and just all around cleaner flavors and more veggies!.  I am a fan.  I wanted to make some chicken lettuce wraps and was searching for an easy marinade that didn't require a huge laundry list of Asian ingredients that I didn't have.  I found it!  I was very please with how simple this was and how delicious it tasted.  I don't know if this is "technically" "Thai" chicken, but I am going to go ahead and call it that. : )

Thai Chicken Marinade

1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbs. honey
3 slices fresh ginger
2 cloves chopped garlic
4 pounded out chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs*

Place all ingredients into a Ziploc bag*, seal, and shake/massage the marinade into the chicken.  Place in refrigerator and marinade for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.  Remove from refrigerator and grill, bake, or pan saute.  Serve with rice, rice noodles, lettuce wraps, tortilla wraps, etc and peanut sauce!

*If you don't want to use a plastic Ziploc you can also mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl then pour over the chicken in a small pan and stir every couple of hours.

* I used boneless skinless thighs, but I am sure the marinade would work with bone in/skin on as well - personal preference!

Peanut Dressing
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter*
1 TBS. crunchy peanut butter
3 TBS Soy Sauce
2 TBS Rice Wine Vinegar
2 TBS Olive Oil
1 TBS Sesame Oil
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 TBS minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. crushed red pepper

Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender until combined and yummy!
* I used the peanut butter that is freshly ground at the grocery store, no added ingredients - just straight up ground peanuts - it is so good.  If you only have creamy or crunchy it doesn't matter - just use what you have!

You can use this sauce as a dip, a salad dressing, a wrap sauce/drizzle, or just eat it with a spoon - so scrumptious!  It is pretty thick, so if you like a thinner sauce add a little bit of water or coconut milk.

Here it is chopped up on romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, green onions, chopped carrots and cucumbers, peanuts, and the peanut dressing.   So delicious!

Give your burdens to God, feel refreshed and renewed!
Make this chicken and peanut sauce and nourish the people you love!

Eat your heart out,


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Almond Milk Crepes with Coconut Milk and Honey Caramel dairy or refined sugar!

Ever since we returned from Paris I have been dreaming of making crepes.  Then I remembered I had a crepe maker from my college days...some friends gave it to me and I totally forgot I had it until now!  

While we were in Paris we had a caramel and sea salt crepe so I wanted to attempt to make it without milk and without sugar.  Figured there were recipes for such things online...and I figured right!  The caramel was the real surprise here, so sweet and delicious!  Maybe even a little too sweet.  Next time I make these I think I will saute some fresh apples to give it a little more earthiness and texture, and maybe cut down on the sweetness of the caramel a little.  

Almond Milk Crepes
originally found here
1 cup almond milk
3 eggs
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
¼ cup water
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth
Transfer mixture into bowl and let rest on counter for one hour. (I skipped this step and they turned out fine)
Heat skillet on medium-high heat. Spray with oil (I used Coconut Oil Spray). With a ladle, swirl 2-3 tablespoons of batter onto skillet while tilting the pan in a circular motion, allowing batter to cover the surface evenly. Cook for 20-30 seconds on first side, flip crepe over and continue to cook for 10-20 seconds more until crepe is light golden. Turn crepe out onto a clean surface. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Coconut Milk and Honey Caramel Sauce
Originally found here, this is the adapted version.

1 can full fat coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups) 
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoons ghee, I used butter (but you can probably use coconut oil too)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine all ingredients and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Mix until combined and butter is melted.

Continue to lightly boil undisturbed, anywhere from 20-30 minutes (sometimes more depending on how much you are making) or until it reaches a nice golden amber color and about 245-250 degrees on a candy thermometer*.

Toward the end of cooking, stir often to keep any of caramel from burning on the bottom of the pan, but also to incorporate the small amount that is burning into the caramel. This gives it that lovely burnt sugar flavor and color that we associate with caramel.

Cooking times vary significantly depending on the width and thickness of your pot, stove, heat and batch size. Just roll with the nature of candy making. Color and smell is the key. 

Remove from heat and allow to cool 10-15 minutes.  Makes about 1 cup.