Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Good morning! Yesterday we got hit with some thick, heavy snow so naturally we all cancelled everything we had planned (when I say we, I mean the entire state of New Hampshire) and hunkered down for the day.

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Dance was cancelled so that meant I had some extra time on my hands. For me extra time = baking time. I decided to experiment with my new favorite healthy food swap, pumpkin puree!

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Pumpkin is so versatile and full of essential vitamins and fiber. You can easily use pumpkin as a healthy alternative to ingredients like butter, oil and eggs in baking recipes! By swapping in pumpkin you will automatically reduce the calories and fat in the recipe and increase your veggie intake for the day. It’s a win-win!

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Today I replaced the butter that would normally go into these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with the same amount of pumpkin puree. The results = you don’t miss the butter for a second. Your baked goods may come out a little more orange tinted than normal, but who doesn’t like a little extra warm glow in their kitchen?

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Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coconut

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine pumpkin, sugars, egg and vanilla. In a smaller bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Mix in walnuts, chocolate chips and coconut. Drop 1.5 inch size cookies onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Yields about 18 cookies.

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These cookies are full of other healthy ingredients too like dark chocolate chips, which provide healthy antioxidants, walnuts and coconut for some healthy fats and whole wheat flour and oats for added fiber. The recipe title says cookies, but these could probably qualify as a power bar if you’re in a pinch. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal Muffins

New Hampshire in January can be such a bummer. It’s cold, dark, and we’re all basically counting down the days until we’re back in shorts and flip flops (which oddly usually happens around 55 degrees). There’s a word in the Danish language called “hygge” (pronounced hoogah), which is essentially the art of being cozy and comfortable. It’s all about finding pleasure in mundane things like having dinner at home with friends on a cold night or hunkering down under a blanket during a snowstorm.

Think about all the things that make you feel cozy and warm…cuddling up by a fireplace with a good book, snuggling with a puppy, hot chocolate after a brisk ski session. Hygge means grasping onto those things and appreciating that warm feeling it gives you for as long as you need to…so basically until April. How smart is that though?! We’re all sitting around complaining and the Danish are like guys this is freaking awesome, here’s a cup of soup!

These muffins are my attempt at feeling the hygge. Anything pumpkin, cinnamon and apple always makes me feel cozy especially when warmed and served with hot cocoa or my morning coffee.

This recipe is gluten free, grainless and jam packed with superfood power. The pumpkin provides fiber and vitamins, while the oats and flax keep you full for hours. Plus you could easily add walnuts, raisins or pumpkin seeds to make it even more of a power muffin.

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Traditional oatmeal is awesome, but baked oatmeal muffins are like the quicker, hip version. They pack the same nutritional benefits, but you can eat one as you run out the door on the way to work, or pack one for a midday snack.

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 Tbsp flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large apple, peeled and sliced

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together pumpkin, vanilla, egg, maple syrup and milk. In a separate bowl combine oats, flax, baking powder, salt and spices. Mix dry ingredients into wet and fold in apples. Drop into greased muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool and enjoy! Yields about 12 muffins.

My suggestion for consuming these blonde beauties is warmed and covered in peanut butter, cinnamon butter or even some cookie butter for a sweet splurge. And being cuddled up by a roaring fire with your favorite someone wouldn’t hurt either…Embrace hygge!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

It’s National Peanut Butter Day! How could I not celebrate one of my all-time favorite foods? My favorite thing about peanut butter is the power it has to keep me full. I can wake up after a long night of teaching with sore muscles and a hangry belly and I know the only thing that can make me feel better is my good ‘ol whole wheat toast and peanut butter. The simplest complete protein on earth.

Long story short, we’re in love and there’s nothing that can tear us apart.

Except the other day I found this guy.
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In Home Goods of all places! Just sitting on the shelf, in the clearance isle, all by its lonesome.

Oh. my. g@d.

Walnut butter is the new peanut butter.

Except it’s definitely not. (But you should totally try it).

In honor of my beloved peanut butter I’m sharing a quick healthy dessert recipe adapted from the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie .

 

 

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 applesauce cup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together applesauce, peanut butter, vanilla, baking soda, flour, sugar and chocolate chips. Spread into 8×8 greased baking pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes. The bars will be very gooey when they come out! Let cool completely before serving.

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These bars are so incredibly ooey-gooey that you will think you have majorly messed up the recipe when they come out. But it’s OK! Just wait. They will set eventually, but will still be super gooey.

My preferred method to eat these is heated up (via microwave for about 20 seconds) with a nice dollop of vanilla frozen yogurt on top.

What’s your favorite kind of nut butter?

Sweet Potato Steak Fajita Bowl

Do you ever have one of those days when all you can think about is eating chocolate? Or a cupcake? Or chips?

Our bodies are actually programmed to crave certain foods for specific reasons. Usually because we are lacking certain nutrients in our diet at the time.

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Being aware of this can be key to understanding what your body actually needs, vs. what you think you need at the moment (ie. Chicken vs. an entire sleeve of Oreos).

There’s a few handy dandy charts floating around the internet that make it easy to see what you should eat based on what you’re craving.

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This recipe came out of one of those craving moments. All day I just wanted something sweet, so I came home, looked at what was available and whipped up a quick Sweet Potato Steak Fajita Bowl. Holy guacamole was it satisfying. And my sweet craving was gone.

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I used steak from our dinner the night before, but you could easily swap it out for some other meat like ground turkey, chicken sausage or tofu. The fajita (or taco in my case) seasoning is what does the trick and makes whatever protein you put it on oh, so, tasty.

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For those of us that are trying to stay away from gluten, the sweet potato acted as a bed for my sauteed ingredients, instead of rice or a tortilla.

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Sweet Potato Steak Fajita Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 a yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 an orange bell pepper
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup cooked steak, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp McCormick Organic Fajita Seasoning Mix 
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish
  • Chopped romaine lettuce for garnish
  • Sour cream for garnish

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cube sweet potatoes, spread on a baking sheet and mix with 2 tbsp olive oil, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, saute onions, garlic, mushrooms and peppers in oil until soft. Add in cooked steak and season with fajita seasoning mix. Start layering your bowl first with roasted sweet potatoes then vegetable/steak mixture, then shredded cheese, lettuce and sour cream. Enjoy!

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Super quick, super easy, incredibly satisfying.

One quick meal planning tip for you – add a few more sweet potatoes to your recipe and save the leftovers for an easy and gluten/grain free side to your morning eggs. You will not even miss your toast, I promise.

 

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

The New Year is upon us and that means we all start to take a deep look at our lives and see what we can do better. I’m the first to admit that my pants start to feel pretty snug around the holidays and I may eat a few more (like 10) chocolates per day than usual.

Getting back to healthy eating can be hard, so I like to ease into it with nothing other than cookies.

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These Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies are vegan, gluten free, easy and help you use the inevitable rotting banana that has been sitting on the counter for 3 days and is really starting to stress you out.

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Now don’t let the word “vegan” deter you! Some people see the word vegan and start running for the hills…or to the nearest donut shop. I see vegan and I think “hey, that’s probably some pretty clean eats right there and will probably make me feel good.”And it usually does, so give vegan a chance.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 super ripe banana
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash banana in a large bowl and add vanilla. Chop coconut flakes and add to banana mixture. Add chocolate chips and walnuts and mix well.Form mixture into cookies and place on greased cookie sheet. Form mixture into cookies and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Flip cookies and bake for 5 more minutes. Let cool before eating so that they firm and set.

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These cookies are a perfect post-lunch snack when you’re reaching for something sweet. Swap the day-old office cake for these cookies for an extra energy punch to get you through the afternoon.

They are jam packed with healthy oils and antioxidants so you can feel good about your afternoon snack, instead of shameful and sad (we’ve all been there). Enjoy!