The usual nonsense

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More of that light side/dark side dessertyness.

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I actually made these last weekend but have been too busy/lazy/my novel is too good lately to actually get around to posting them. But they happened to be a big hit with the fam so I thought I would be nice and share them. These went well together—the super dense fudgy almond butter brownies played nicely with the lighter caramel bars—those aren’t super sweet, so it made a nice contrast.

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I’m feeling a little brain dead today so pardon the lack of text and written nonsense, I’ll just leave you with the photos and that drool that just hit your keyboard…

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Almond Butter Brownies

Super fudgy, tall brownies with a chewy crust. These are honey sweetened, and you could definitely taste the honey in my batch. I liked it, as a change from the typical brownies that I make, but if you’re not a fan of honey flavor in baked goods, I would sub maple or another liquid sweetener. Recipe only slightly adapted from Smells Like Brownies, here! Makes one 8 by 8 square pan (I had to use round since the square pan I have was currently in use, but I think there’s something weird about round brownies…). Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free!

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  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c raw, runny honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c organic almond butter (mine was unsalted)
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease pan of choice with coconut oil.

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, honey, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in almond butter. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir dry into wet, mixing until just combined and adding in chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake 25-30 minutes. The center should be slightly puffed, and a toothpick should come out mostly clean (a teeny bit of fudgy is okay, but excessively under baked is ew). Let cool completely before slicing, and store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Salted Caramel Coconut Bars

This one is slightly adapted from Quiche-a-week (love that blog!) here! Chewy, thick salty-caramel-chocolate-spelt-coconut things. Vegan, refined sugar free! They’re made with spelt flour, which can be easier to digest than wheat, even if you aren’t wheat intolerant (though this is *not* gluten free). Yield: 9-12 bars, in an 8 by 8 pan.

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For the caramel:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • a hefty pinch (1/4+ tsp) sea salt

For the barz:

  • 1.75 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter (preferably the separating kind)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6 tbsp water (2 flax eggs)
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • up to 1/4 unsweetened almond milk

Make the caramel first so it has a little time to cool! In a saucepan, melt coconut oil, coconut sugar, and maple until it starts to fizz and thicken. When it starts bubbling, add the almond milk. Let it bubble for just a bit, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 3 ish minutes. Stir only occasionally, but mostly just let it sit. Once it’s thickened a little (almond milk won’t thicken too crazy much), turn off the heat, stir in the sea salt, and let it cool.

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For the barz….

Preheat the oven to 325 and grease an 8 by 8 pan with coconut oil. Make your flax eggs and then set them aside to gel.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together spelt flour, almond flour, sea salt, baking soda, and shredded coconut. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add in flax eggs, then stir the wet into the dry until just combined. You’ll need more moisture in the dough since spelt flour can be dry—I added about a 1/4 c of almond milk a tablespoon at a time until the dough was the right consistency. Fold in the chocolate chippies. Spread half the batter into your prepared pan (using your hands is encouraged), then pour half the caramel over the first layer. Add more chocolate chips to this middle layer because… just because. Spread the other layer of dough over the caramel (it’ll get messy but it’s dessert so who cares?), then pour the other half of the caramel over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool on a rack, then slice and eat/store!

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A case of RUDE tonsils

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So guess what.

This is what happens when your tonsils rebel and you end up with…

TONSILLITIS.

So. RUDE.

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Look what it made me do? I was feeling sorry for myself and this happened.

And I kind of thought it was pretty so I took lots of iPhone photos while I was becoming one with the couch. Which is so not my mo, I’m getting twitchy and this is only my first full day of antibiotics (which I hate but in some cases are obviously necessary).

Ughghghhghghg.

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Thankfully things look a little better with a bowl of trashed up banana bread in front of you. I took a perfectly good-for-me loaf of grain free, refined sugar free banana bread and dumped a load of homemade chocolate hazelnut butter and vanilla ice cream on it. Because, obviously. I do not ever need to justify my ice cream but in this case I have tonsillitis and clearly everyone knows that tonsillitis=ice cream. There’s got to be an official rule written down somewhere that says that… right? Whatever. Just humor me, I’m sickly and cranky. And my banana bread is gone now so I can’t trash up any more of it.

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Good thing I still have ice cream. I’ll have to just make do with that…

IMG_0372 Simple Grain Free Banana Bread

This is one of my favorites—it comes out with a great crumb, it’s moist but not soggy (ew, no one wants that), and it bakes up cleanly in less than an hour. Grain free+gluten free, refined sugar free (in fact, it doesn’t have any sweetener added at all, except banana), and paleo. Yay! I adapted the recipe from Peanut Butter Runner, here! Makes one loaf.

  • 3/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (measured when completely liquid)
  • 3 medium-large, extremely ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • shredded unsweetened coconut for topping, optional

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, trying to get all the lumps (sift coconut flour if it’s super lump-tastic). In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined—the batter is thick, and almost a little ‘dry’, but it spreads out easily into a loaf pan. Top with shredded coconut, if using, and bake for 45 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Use the parchment to lift it out onto a cooling rack, and let cool completely before wrapping in foil. It does best stored in the fridge!

Trash it up with anything you feel like. Chocolate? Peanut Butter? Ice cream? (I mean, obvi)… This banana bread is your oyster.

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Kelp noodles are ridiculously distracting

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I really freaking love kelp noodles like WAY TOO MUCH.

I want to eat them all day, every day.

Which is weird, given that they pretty much taste like… nothing. It’s like eating noodley nothing.

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So maybe… I’m really obsessed with the almond butter sauce. Realistically that’s probably it, given my history of obsession with anything nut butter related. Sheesh. I’m so predictable.

Whatever. Kelp noodles+almond butter = AMAZING.

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But actually this post is about banana bread. Um. Non sequitur? Sorry, I was just really excited about my leftovers for lunch today… and I’ve been working too much and my I think I lost my brain somewhere between my last six days of work in a row and here. Has anyone seen it? It’s lumpy.. and grey…

Right. Anyway. Banana bread. Not just any banana bread though—this is grain free, refined sugar free, and has CHOCOLATE in it. So I mean, obviously. What are you doing still standing there?? Why aren’t you in your kitchen making this immediately?
Good. I see you trotting off towards your bowls. My pictures have apparently had their desired effect…

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Sorry if there’s drool on your keyboard, I take no personal responsibility for that.

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This went over quite well with its audience: dense with a  good crumb, equal parts chocolatey and bananay… not too sweet but just sweet enough. Excellent with ice cream, if I do say.

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Grain Free Swirled Chocolate Banana Bread

Recipe adapted from My little jar of spices, here! Yield: 1 loaf. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free.

  • 3 very ripe bananas (the blacker and more disgusting the better), about 2 cups mashed
  • 2 c almond flour
  • 1/3 c ground flaxseed
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz extra dark chocolate, 70% or above
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 c pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp raw honey

Grease a loaf pan (I use coconut oil), and preheat the oven to 350.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseed, and baking soda. Set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and honey together until incorporated, stirring constantly until the mixture is a bit thickened. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until you get most of the lumps out. Whisk in egg and vanilla, followed by the butter-honey mix. Whisk to combine. Pour all of this biz into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt dark chocolate and coconut oil together, stirring occasionally. I usually do mine on 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Divide out half of the batter and stir in the chocolate.

Drop the batter into the loaf pan, alternating between chocolate and banana. I used heaping spoonfuls of each, swirling the tops sightly as I went (really, there is no wrong way to do this. Pretend it’s art!). In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp honey and chopped pecans until mixed. Toss this evenly on top of the batter, spreading it out so it’s all even and pretty. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Mine was perfect at 50) Let cool in the pan completely, and store in the refrigerator. I just left mine in the pan for 3 days, and it was totally fine.

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Thursday = cookies. Clearly.

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Happy Cookie Thursday (which is almost Friday and therefore almost the weekend)!!!

It also happened to be genie pant Thursday. Whatever. My Thursday needed a little sparkle and purple genie pants were obviously the apparel of choice for work.

So anyway, cookies.

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I was in a sorority in college. Or rather, I still am a member of said sorority, but I lived in the house for two years during my undergrad. I know, I know. You’re shocked. YOU, you say?? My hippie-granola-genie-pant-wearing self in a sorority?! Yep. Better believe it. Thankfully, Willamette is teensy and liberal arts, and therefore has a really different (in a good way) Greek system. My house was full of eclecticaly hilarious and awesome individuals, so I fit right in.

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But… what does this have to do with cookies? Well actually… I seem to have retained an ingrained habit of cookies on Thursdays. And for this, I can blame thank living in the house. Our chef made cookies at lunch every Thursday the two years I lived in, and after I moved out my senior year, I sort of kept that up (although I made them probably way more frequently than just once a week, let’s be real here). But nowadays, I seem to have fallen back into the Thursday routine! Which is fab, because if you think about it, Thursdays are a perfect day for cookies. Because it’s not quite Friday and the weekend, and you might need a little pick me up or something, you know? What better than a cookie? And then besides, once the batch is gone, it’s weekend time! Hooray!

Mine shall tide me over until I leave on my yoga retreat this weekend, ahhhh… or rather, let’s make that ommmmm….

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Triple Threat Almond Cookies

Thick and a little chewy-crumbly, these cookies are lightly sweet and salty. They remind me a little of salted almond-chocolate, but minus the chocolate (sorry if that makes no sense at all). Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, and full of healthy fats. Yield: 10 cookies. I adapted the recipe from La Gallette, here!

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, grade B
  • 2.5 tbsp melted unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 c raw almonds, roughly chopped

This is maybe the easiest thing ever. Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Toss in wet ingredients, and stir to combine, followed by the almonds. The dough doesn’t come together like a typical cookie dough, but you should be able to form balls of it when you squash it together. Roll into about a tablespoon-sized ball, flatten slightly, and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat… obviously… and try not to eat all the dough (which is fab, by the way). Bake for 12 minutes, let cool on the sheet for a minute, then move to a cooling rack. They’re a little crumbly, so be aware when you’re moving them. Mine have all disappeared so I can’t really speak to how well they store… but I usually store things made of almond flour in the fridge if they’re going to hang around for awhile.

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Blah blah cookies blah blah blah

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Disclaimer: I actually made these forever ago and was holding out on you.

No, not really forever… just last week and I’ve been busy busy so sorry sorry but here they are. And also I have this really fab lunch I’m currently eating and will share that next. I’m just SO nice, aren’t I?! Actually kind of wishing I had some of that lunch left, because sadly it’s gone and it was delicious and chickpeas are my new favorite thing! Not really new.. at all… but in this combination they’re amazing and delicious and why are they gone??

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Also, my cats are adorable. Their adorableness never ceases to amaze me, which is why I apparently have so many cat photos. Here’s one more just because it’s my blog so if I can show you cats if I want to! Muahaha.

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ANYway. Cookies.

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These are pumpkin! Kind of like pumpkin pie consistency when they’ve hung out in the fridge for a bit. Happily nutritious too, since they’re grain free, gluten free, and vegan. AND refined sugar free! Wheee! If you like them with a slightly crunchier top, I recommend eating them after they’ve cooled slightly; otherwise, store them in the fridge for a soft, dense consistency. They’re delicious either way though, so do yourself a favor ;)

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Grain Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe gratefully borrowed and only a teeny bit adapted from cHow Divine, here! Yield: 14. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan. High in antioxidants, healthy fats, and beta carotene.

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/4 c grade B organic maple syrup
  • 1/2 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (I used refined), melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flaxseed and water and let that sit aside to gelatinize whilst you’re doing everything else..

In a smallish bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, pie spice, and sea salt. In a larger bowl, (using a mixer or your incredibly large biceps—I opted for biceps since I was too lazy to wash the mixer) beat together maple syrup, pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Add dry into wet ingredients, toss in flax egg, and stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by the tablespoon-sized ball on the prepared cookie sheet, and flatten slightly (they won’t flatten as they bake). Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely (they’re a little delicate, be careful!).

I store my leftovers in the fridge–the texture gets a teeny bit softer but I think more delicious.

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Wednesdays are BANANAS

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It’s Wednesday… time to go BUHHNAHHNUHHSS!!

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Or something like that.

But first: a little throwback Wednesday to get things started off right. These were my shoes as a baby:

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And we wonder why I turned out like I did?! Ha. Evidence. I’m sure my current state of affairs also has quite a bit to do with the fact that as a baby, I looooved tofu and bananas mashed up together. Yeah. I’m not too sure about that combination these days either…

And then there’s this, which is a throwback to like.. yesterday. Or maybe breakfast. Because apparently quite a few of my meals start off looking like this:

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Huge pile o’greens. Are we surprised? No, not really. ANYway…

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Banana bread!! Only this time its grain free, for peeps who either don’t wanna or can’t have gluten or grains. I like grains and gluten (bread. obvi) but I also really like new things, so this happened. And I am sooo glad it did because it is also delicious, and as I’ve said many times I really don’t have time for things that aren’t delicious. It also happens to be refined sugar free, which I love. Actually… there aren’t ANY added sweeteners in this, period—all the sweetness comes from buhhnahhnuhss! Awesome. Just make sure you use some really dead bananas—mine were pretty nasty looking but they found bliss in their next incarnation as bread, so everybody wins.

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Grain Free Banana Bread

Makes one loaf. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo. It’s high in healthy fats and fiber (yay!), and very satisfying. I think that covers just about everything! Recipe only slightly tweaked from Heather’s French Press, here!

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  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed (mine were smallish)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350, and thoroughly grease a loaf pan (Or use parchment— my bread stuck like WHAT so obviously I was lazy with greasing and should have used parchment. Whoops. Whatever, it created “crumbs” and then I got to eat them all).

In a bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour (sifted if chunky), flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, mash bananas, then vigorously whisk them together with the eggs and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined. This batter (because of the coconut flour) is very thick—it won’t pour like typical banana bread. I smooth mine out with a spatula and then give it fork marks on top for fun. Smooth the batter out in the prepared pan, then pop it into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. A tester should come out clean when it’s done. Let it cool for a few in the pan, then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store in the fridge! I found that it got better and better the longer it lasted (which sadly wasn’t that long…)

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Whiny ultrasonic phone calls and soothing cookies

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Scientific fact: rainy weather = tea + baking.

Obviously. Ask Stephen Hawking, I’m sure he would back me up.

Well… okay maybe not. But the fact that it’s actually FINALLY raining over here in droughty California meant that I obviously had to make cookies and drink tea. Not that those are things I don’t usually do… but I enjoy them so much more when it’s drizzly. Or pouring. Preferably pouring, actually.

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And then I can eat a cookie, go dance in the rain, and then come back in and drink tea. A perfect combination of fun things.

Which is a really nice thing after a day at work where apparently the theme of the day was me repeating myself over.and over.and over. and over: *cue really high octave, rather whiny voice*

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Caller: “Ummm, hiiiiiii, I was just wonderinggggg” (Seriousy. I’m not joking. For some reason, EVERY SINGLE PERSON that calls the store speaks in whiny-ultrasonic. WHY?!) “if you had this puffy jacket…”
Me: “Yes, actually we do, but I’m sorry, we can’t do holds (as per company policy)..”
Caller: “Okayyyyy so can you do a hold for me?”
Me: “Um, no, I’m sorry… we don’t do holds”
Caller: “But um, you could just hold it for me, riiiight?”
Me: “No. I can’t do holds, I’m sorry.”
Caller: “Buuuuut, you could do one for me, riiiiight? Like, you could just hide it somewhere?”
Me: “Um. No. That’s not really possible… Sorry.”
Caller: “But… I neeeeeed it! Like, can’t you just do one little hold?”
Me: “… “

Really?! The answer the first time is no…and the answer the thirty thousandth time is also no. The more you wheedle, the less likely I am to even consider making an exception… what don’t they understand about the first no?! And speaking in ultrasonic is in no way making me want to be helpful, also taking into consideration that the first “hiiiiiii” pretty much shattered my ear drum? Yeah. No.

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BUT! As annoying as these phone calls are, they make excellent stories. So there you have it, my retail annoyance of the day. Go soothe yourself with a cookie, I know it was traumatic…

Now I think I’m going to go locate my snuggle buddy (kitties make the best snuggle buds), my tea, and my novel and go park myself on the couch. It’s a mellow kind of day today… frankly that seems like the perfect activity. Snuggles, tea, and cookies? I’m in.

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Almond-Date Cookies

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and vegan! Yay! These little guys are also high in fiber, low in sugar, and filled with healthy fats and good carbs. They’re a little crumbly around the edges, and chewy-dense in the middle. Awesome snacky cookies, or dessert if you’re not into super sweet things. Yield: 15 cookies. Recipe lightly adapted from Running on Real Food, here!

  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c raw almonds, finely chopped (or run through the food processor)
  • 1.5 c rolled oats, finely ground (I also used the food processor for this)
  • 2 tbsp buckwheat groats
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 c light coconut milk (canned variety)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c dates, finely chopped* (Mine were hard as rocks so I soaked them in hot water for a bit first)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar*

*I was a little short on dates and really only had between 1/3c and a scant 1/2 c, so I supplemented slightly with 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar. The cookies are lightly sweet.

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In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, chopped almonds, ground oats, buckwheat groats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a slightly smaller bowl, stir together coconut milk, vanilla, and melted coconut oil. Mix wet into dry, then stir in dates, coconut sugar (if using) and chocolate chippies. Chill the dough for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or lightly grease). Roll the dough into balls, and flatten slightly. Bake for 13 minutes, until lightly browned on the top! Remove to a cooling rack after a few minutes to cool completely.

These do best if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Happy rain and cookies!

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