Vegan, Gluten Free Almond Butter Cookies – Recipe ONE

Some of you may know that my ultimate weakness comes in the form of cookie!! Not just any cookie, in fact I dislike most. My Achilles tendon is Planet Bean Cafes’ Vegan Gluten Free Almond Butter Cookies!!! Man oh MAN, they are melted in your mouth perfection!!! BUT, they get pricey at 1.75 each. That adds up on a weekly basis. SO my goal is to find a recipe out there that comes close to theirs, since apparently theirs is a secret (although if anyone is able to get it for me! I’d be more than grateful!!)  So attempt one, went so badly that I’m not even counting it. The recipe sucked big time and they tasted like pie crust, soo dry. So this recipe will be my next attempt. Not sure when, so if you make them before me, make sure you try a Planet Bean version first so you can compare (if you don’t live in Guelph ON, and have no idea what Planet Bean is, …I feel sorry for you!!)

Here is recipe one at an attempt to match the ULTIMATE cookie; * I know it’s not paleo, but feel free to adjust to your primal needs.

Gluten-Free Vegan Almond Butter Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 (16-ounce) container  Almond Butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Raw sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flax and water. Set aside while you prepare remaining ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together almond butter, sugar and brown sugar.
  4. Beat in flax mixture, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until well-combined.
  5. Sprinkle a generous amount of raw sugar in a plate.
  6. Form almond butter mixture into 2-inch balls and roll in raw sugar, coating all sides.
  7. Place almond butter balls on the prepared baking sheets, 3 to 4 inches apart, and flatten with the back of a fork in a cross-hatch pattern.
  8. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until cookies golden at edges. Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to continue to cool.
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Protein Spinach Non Paleo Pancakes Turned Paleo

From JOHN CARTER FITNESS: http://johncarterfitness.com/2012/08/21/go-green-fuel-up-with-spinach-protein-pancakes/

Spinach Protein Pancakes, yes you heard right!!
You will be getting your greens bright & early in the day for Breakfast!

Benefits of Eating your Veggies: Vegetables are high in fiber, one of the most widely neglected bodybuilding nutrients. Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that supplies no calories to your body, but it does provide bulk, which slows digestion. This has two essential benefits. First, carbohydrates enter your body more slowly. This helps hold your blood sugar levels in check, keeping energy levels up and “crashes” at bay. When blood sugar levels crash, they cause a spike in cortisol, a catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle tissue and makes recovery more difficult. Second, fiber helps support the absorption of amino acids. It keeps the walls of your intestines clean, making them more efficient. This in turn allows you to get more bang for your buck from your protein consumption.

Recipe:

  • Spinach Protein Pancakes!

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose gluten-free flour  coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oats LEAVE OUT?
  • 1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt  coconut milk yogurt or canned coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vanilla or chocolate protein powder
    (I used Athletes Food Chocolate Flavor byNutrabolics)
  • 1/4 or 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • cinnamon to taste
Directions: 
  1. Add all ingredients into your  blender and blend on a lower speed for 30 seconds-1 min. until spinach is finely chopped.
  2. Pour onto a lightly oiled nonstick skillet, 3 Tbsp. at a time.
  3. Flip when bubbles form, about 3 minutes per side. – MAY TAKE LONGER WITH NO OATS
  4. Keep warm in the oven while you cook the remainder of the batter.

I have never made this personally so I’m not quite sure if the there needs to be more egg or maybe more milk since coconut flour can make things a tad dry. but you’ll know once its in the blender what needs to be added for the right consistency!

 

TRY EM OUT, LET ME KNOW!!!

 

Brownies From GROKette

Ingredients:  

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 eggs
1 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup chocolate chips (optional… I usually leave them out)

Instructions:     

Preheat oven to 350F.
In medium saucepan melt coconut oil and cocoa powder.
Mix eggs, honey, and vanilla with electric mixer until well combined and fluffy.
Add in coconut oil/cocoa powder and keep mixing.
Add coconut flour and mix until you have a smooth batter.
(The batter for these is going to fairly liquid!)
Grease 8×8 pan, pour in the batter and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Let cool in pan before cutting. 

If you like your brownies gooey, you’ll want to take them out between 30 and 32 minutes. It really depends on the actual heat of your oven. Mine are done at 32 minutes. At 35 minutes I don’t like them anymore. But you can experiment.

These brownies freeze well. So, if you have a real sweet tooth, simply freeze most of them and just keep some out.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Sweet Potato Allergy? Is there such a thing?

One of my favorite side dishes when I go out is a nice heaping serving of sweet potato fries (no salt). Recently after a dinner outing that resulting in the fastest drive home EVER! I had to do some food reflecting to figure out the cause of that dreaded stomach gurgle. I remembered back to when a friend of mine had baked some amazing sweet potato brownies and the same gut rot feeling surfaced instantly.
Common denominator being the sweet potato’s.
Like all internet savvy people I Googled for some info. Sure enough there it was!
Thanks to Livestrong.com, I now no I’m not the only one ;
” sweet potatoes also contain a type of sugar called mannitol that can cause stomach pain in some sensitive people. If you have noticed that your stomach hurts every time you eat sweet potatoes, you might have an intolerance to foods containing mannitol.” . . . So besides wheat and milk products that I’m allergic/intolerant to, I can now add to my list Mannitol! But what other foods contain mannitol?
cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas, watermelon and celery
I also learned that “Mannitol belongs to the polyol, or sugar alcohol family. Sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol and mannitol, are often added to sugar-free ice cream, sugar-free candy and other sugar-free foods because they contain fewer calories and sugar compared with regular table sugar” (Livestrong.com).
Apparently all it takes is 10grams to cause a laxative effect, and speaking from experience, this happens within minutes after eating.
I might still be able to eat them if I keep my portion size to half a cup, but HALF A CUP? Come on! That’s just a tease when it comes to these awesome treats!!
The site also says I can try vegetables with a lower polyol content, such as leafy greens, white potatoes, parsnips, bok choy, green beans or bamboo shoots, and although white potatoes are on there, I don’t feel comfortable choosing the unhealthy fry option. :S
I did however find a great recipe for squash fries!
http://mutritiousnuffins.blogspot.ca/2012/06/squash-fries.html?m=1
Although not as satisfying as the sweet potato version, I could get used to them.

As I side note, for those of you that find you do have a sensitivity to mannitol, be very careful not to combine it with spicy foods such as hot peppers or you’ll be needing to carry an extra pair of undies with you! Save yourself the embarrassment!

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Quarter Life Crisis?

Hey everyone, so I woke up this morning realizing that 25 years ago today I was a new-born baby, awww, then quickly I remembered that 25 is only 5 years away from 30!!!! (didn’t Jessica Simpson say something stupid like that?) 

When I was 15 years old in high school and required to do a long-term plan of my life for a homework assignment, I remember thinking, hummm  at 25 years old I plan to me married, done school, and starting my career………. PFFTT! NONE of which have happened!!! Thats not to say I’m in crisis mode because of it, it’s just to say that things really do NOT go the way you plan when you’re 15 years old *insert Taylor Swift lyrics HERE*.

If you’re an avid reader of my blog  you’ll know that my family has been through an emotional roller coaster ride for the past few years, and although things seem hard at the time, I’m thankful that I have become a stronger person because of it. In fact, my life in the last year has gone through a lot of changes!!!!! The biggest of all being accepted to Grad School after the third time applying, and because of my final acceptance and knowing that this time I would  have put in the hard work and effort that I needed I would be able to move up and on from this plateau of part-time jobs. Another very HUGE change was doing a friendship clean sweep for Patrick and I was also very much a lifestyle adaptation, which seemed to be much harder on him than on myself. Trying to find positive people to bring into our lives to replace the negative ones was also a challenge, one that we are still working on, but seem to realize that Quality is more important than Quantity, and I want to thank all the new friends we’ve made, as well as the friends that we have reinforced our friendship with, and even the friends that we were able to re-build friendships with. I waved goodbye to my days of Sunday morning hangovers  and not getting anything around the house done, when I chose to no longer use the excuse to need to be drunk in order to have fun. ALTHOUGH, I have made one exception this year for my birthday I will have a Mojito or Pina Colada (or two) ;). This year I also was able to develop a stronger relationship with my mom and with my sister, which makes life so much more enjoyable, its important for them to know how crucial their roles in my life are, I need them to be able to function as loving member of society, and so now that we have become closer I feel less alone and more myself. And thanks to my moms years of amazing Christmas dinners, I had I high standard to live up to when I cooked my very own Mariani Christmas dinner which included three turkeys… Thank gosh no one was food poisoned ( thanks to the family for telling me it was good 😉 )!!! I was able to fall in love with cutest, most amazing little Princess, my  “Jack-o-lantern”  Adalyn, who is the only baby that can make my day  just from one smile! I love her and her parents like my own family!! And although I have yet to experience the joys of mommy-hood (hopefully not for a few years) I’m a proud momma of one of the best dogs in the world, JERSEY. who actually has a JOB!! She makes me so proud and I get so excited telling people about her accomplishments (i know i know, you can’t wait to see what i’ll be like when I have kids) And speaking of Jobs, I had my first experience working in a group home which was not only very emotionally exhausting and stressful but an eye opener as to how important functional Parents are to their children. Functional meaning mind, body and spirit. Taking care of yourself is the only way you’re going to be able to take care of your children. Which brings me to my last Change of the year, I tried my hardest to take care of myself and begin a healthier lifestyle and in doing so (with the help of a great friend and personal trainer Matthew Ratcliffe) I have lost a total of 32lbs and turned so much fat into muscle!!!! I hope that I was able to inspire others along the way and I know my Facebook pictures and post get a little tiresome, but education and exposure are important teaching tools. Theres so many people I can thank for all these important changes in my life, friends, family, and even complete strangers and I wish I was able to name everyone, and its days like theses when you wake up to so many birthday wishes that you realize  there are people outside of your everyday life that DO think about you, and that feels nice!

Pat has been a great support throughout all of these changes and I thank him very much for all that he has done. We have much to learn and more to grow and I hope that it only gets happier from here. Thanks Pat.

Id like to say that I WISH my cousin Josh was here to celebrate my birthday with me, growing up he was “THE MAN” in my life and I was content being his shadow no matter what. After 20 years of  growing and changing and him moving across the world, he’s still someone who’s words I cherish. Thanks Joshy. And thanks everyone for all you’re birthday wishes! It means so much!!

Have a great day!!!!

 

Ashley; 25 years in the making

Melt in your mouth Cookies From the Food Lovers Primal Palat

I MADE THESE TONIGHT!! FOUND THEM HERE  –> http://www.primal-palate.com/2010/12/chocolate-chip-cookies.html

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil, unrefined
  • 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Omega 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips I USED 1 CUP of PEANUT BUTTER CUPS, with 1/2 cup of Gulten free Dairy fre
Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a small mixing bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and beat with hand mixer until combined.
  5. Melt coconut oil, pour into batter, and continue to blend until combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. On a parchment lined baking sheet, drop balls of cookie dough, about a tablespoon in size.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool and serve with a cold glass of almond milk!

Dare I go there?…. might as well….DIVORCE

Back in high school I had mixed emotions about my parents being one of the very few in the town who were still married. On one hand I came from a nuclear family with not as much drama as some of my friends with divorced families. On the other hand, I had a much stricter life, couldn’t get away with anything, and was jealous of the multiple birthdays and Christmas’ divorced kids had. 

Fast forward a few years to me as an adult with a developed brain and 5 years of post-graduate education in Marriage and Family Studies under my belt, I didn’t look at it quite the same way. In other words, Family, is such an important part of the growth and development on a child and I am thankful that my parents were stable enough to get through those crucial years as hard as it was. BUT, people grow apart once their children “leave the nest”. They are left there staring at each other thinking NOW WHAT? They had focused so intensely on raising good children that when that one common ground was gone, they had nothing to share together except the reality of what was left; bitterness, resentment and even anger. Suddenly the “If Only I had of…”‘s start invading their minds or “If I didn’t get married I could have…”…might be a thought process. Or perhaps they look at each other and no longer see that same person they fell in love with multiple years ago. Or worse; were they even IN LOVE when they got married, or was it out of convenience and limited time?…this is what I thought until it happened to me.

Fast forward a few more years and here I am right back to where I was ten years ago; I have such mixed emotions about my parents separation. On one hand my life would be so much easier and less stressful if my parents were together. I wouldn’t have to feel like I’m picking sides, family dinners would include everyone, I wouldn’t have to worry about planning a wedding and who would attend and who wouldn’t, would there be conflict, or having a child and wondering if both grandparents would be actively involved. On the other hand…..I know that my parents marriage was unhealthy, and I have known that since I was very very young. I wish there was no trace of infidelity and that their separation had been laid back and friendly, but this isn’t a perfect world.  I know my mom is in a better head space right now, she gets to live how she wants, I feel sadness for her that after 25 years of cooking cleaning, and dealing with craziness, all she tried to stay sane for has crumbled at her feet, but at the same time she has a new-found respect for herself because of this process. She has become her own idea of a feminist and is quite happy living under her own set of non-existent rules, and that I am thankful for.

My dad is a different kind of  happy, his happiness stems from staying preoccupied with adventures and “things” he didn’t do while married. His accumulation of  “friends” and clothes seems to have grown since leaving my family home, but I think he is trying to live his life without regrets from this point on. 

Heres where its gonna get a litttlllee bit taboo, and I’m ok with that.

DATING can be very different depending on the type of separation/divorce the parents go through. I have a gut feeling that my Mom is quite enjoying her surroundings as they are and a man would just come and mess that all up. My dad on the other hand has been with a few women since leaving the house and seems to enjoy the dating world. BUT, given the circumstances around HOW their marriage ended, for my sister and I, ” parental dating”  has become a very traumatic thing. AND I would like to CLARIFY for those who have said “No matter who my parents date, their daughters will never approve” WRONG, you people are wrong!! Has anyone once asked us why we feel the way we feel? or have you just whispered that we’re being unreasonable behind our backs? For that matter how many of my family members have asked us if we’re even ok, or need emotional support during our family break down???? VERY FEW!!!!! so before judging us on our reaction to this brand new life, put yourself in OUR shoes. My sister and I have talked about it, and we feel we have a right to approve or disapprove just as both our parents did while we were dating. To expect your children to accept a women (or man)  who could have potentially been the catalyst to the break down of your family is OUT of the QUESTION. To ask your children to approve of a women (or man) who is everything you have raised  your children NOT TO BE  is also OUT of the question. So, that leaves the women (or men) who are respectable, kind, caring, nurturing (and non gold diggers..opps, did I say that?).  Someone who is willing to go out of their way recognize what the presence of them being in your life represents to your children, who is empathetic, and offers support as well as respectful to your former spouse, someone who realizes that not only are they dating you, but dating your children as well ( i know it sounds weird).

 I also believe that timing is essential when deciding to invite someone new into you’re life, and although there is not an exact date and time that someone can give you, the grieving process needs to over 100% before new partners are brought into the picture. Would you go out and get a new puppy right after your dog of 12 years passes (and no ‘old dog’ isn’t reference to ANYONE, it’s just a comparison)…the point is everyone needs time to grieve and some people take longer, but to force something that is going to be resisted 1000 times harder before the grieving is over, is just asking for trouble. 

As a parent, if you are newly single, please keep in mind that your children observe EVERYTHING you do, no matter what their age. To raise your children with such strict rules but then say “Do as I say, not as I do” is not very good parenting at all!!!…

Marriage used to be a goal I strived for, but now, I look at my 25 years of life and think, WHY? So I can turn out like that? So one day in the pit of my gut I just know my husband is spending his time with someone else? Someone who has never washed his dirty underware, or looked after him when he was sick, has never been there to deal with the repercussions of a bad day at work, or who has never known what hard times with a high standard of living even means?? For someone to reap the benefits of my blood sweat and tears only to feel like I was handed the short end of the stick. . . . . really makes me question marriage…….. A wedding though, that’s another story!! I’ve been planning my wedding for a long time, and even if I married myself, I’d be okay with that!! 🙂

Now I know this post is going to rub some people the wrong way, and for those who know my family and seem to feel the need to add fuel to our fire…, why? Do you not think that we have gone through enough that you really must “Tattle” ? Cause really, if I didn’t want people to read what I write on my blog, I wouldn’t have started a blog in the first place.

My real HOPE, is that somewhere out there I have reached out to an adult child who is experiencing the same grief as I am, and can realize that his/her messed up family isn’t the only one. . . . I also hope that aunts, uncles, and cousins of those who are experiencing the same thing I have will take their time to offer support, because watching your family fall apart isn’t easy, and the family members who still hold the same roles are they always did are very important to the process of recovering. 

Divorces sucks! And even though my parents aren’t legally divorced, the results of their settlement and separation isn’t far off. 

To the children whose parents are dating….keep in mind, that they will date, but it’s when and whom they become serious with that is what hurts the most! Especially if they choose someone who would enjoy your parent more if he/she wasn’t inconvenienced with children!! 

Parents; know that your children never asked for this. And if you’re the victim of infidelity and say “I didn’t ask for this either” , just remember it was you’re choice to marry, you’re choice to bring a child into this world. Your children had no say in the matter. So don’t forget to be the best support system for them!! Because no matter how bad YOU hurt, THEY hurt just as bad or worse. PLEASE don’t forget THAT!

 

Thanks

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