Because, BEETS!!!

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I’m having a moment.

Like, RIGHT NOW.

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Because I just took a bite of my lunch and my insides kind of exploded, it was so good. BEST LUNCH EVER! Okay. Not really, probably, but extremely delicious at this particular point in my life and too good not to share. Because, lunch. Which can unfortunately be extremely boring and sad, if not given the proper attention. I know for me it goes something like this: “going about my day lalala… shmaybe some jazzercise, oooh I think I’ll bake bread! And clean things! And OMG I’M STARVING how is it already noon?? Wander wander into the kitchen, yank open fridge and… ugh. Nothing exciting and I am too starving to seriously consider making something interesting. So… eggs. AGAIN. For the elevendy billionth time. Someone save me from the inevitable scrambled eggs!!!” And then no one does so I eat them anyway. Laaaaame.

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BUT!! Today. Today was different.

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Because there were BEETS in the fridge!!! And I looooove beets [Probably excessively. I have never met a beet salad I didn’t like]. Alas, no goat cheese… but that forced me to improvise with cute my beet-lets. And so. Have you ever shredded a beet with cheese grater?? It’s actually quite fun, they’re easier than carrots and don’t fly everywhere like zucchini. No, I don’t spend ALL of my time grating different vegetables. Just kind of… a lot of it, apparently, enough to make me an expert on inadvertant grated vegetable projectiles. Ahem. Moving on.

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This bowl.

A perfect balance of sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy, eggy, nutty, beety. What more could you want out of your normally marginalized midday meal? Give your lunch (and indirectly, yourself) some love and make it delicious. I promise it makes your day ten billion times better! But seriously. This is super fast, easy and delicious… AND full of whole foods just doin’ all kinds of fab things for your bod.

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Red Beet, Roasted Corn and Zucchini Hash, with Egg and Avo

A Wait.. Are those.. Cookies original! Straight from my brain box, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But seriously… make it! Gluten free, full of antioxidants, and vegetarian. Serves 1 [adapt amounts as needed! It’s ridiculously forgiving]. This could also be a really good breakfast, if you’re weird like me and crave veggies in the am. Super fast as well, provided you’re using precooked beets.

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  • 4 steamed and peeled beets, shredded on the large holes of a grater
  • 1/2 a large zucchini, shredded
  • small handful of fire roasted corn
  • small glug of good quality olive oil
  • 4-5 pecans, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 of a perfectly ripe avocado, cubed
  • salt+pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, toss in shredded beets, zucchini, and corn. Sauté for a few minutes, until the veggies soften but are still just a bit crunchy. Season with salt and pepper, and toss in chopped pecans. Turn off heat and let sit for a second. Make your egg (simultaneously, in separate skillet if you’re a talented multitasker) however you like (I like a runny yolk for this but mine broke, so it cooked through. Wah). Top beet hash with egg, cubed avo, and more salt and pepper. Devour like no one’s watching, it’s that good! Or maybe I was just super in the mood for beets. Either way, enjoy your lunch!

Oh… one last thing. Obligatory New Year’s Day eating: cabbage with BACON (!!!), black eyed peas with BACON (!!!) and hot sauce. All my southern heritage in one bowl.

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My sandwich is exploding kale

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Drool drool drool.

I had no idea these bars were going to be so spectacular!!! But they were. And thankfully for me and my sweets consumption they went on the plane to Oregon with m&v, those lucky ducks. I have serious problems when I go to Portland… I just want ALL THE FOOD. And I run into that reoccurring problem of most mortals in that only so much goodness will fit in my stomach. With whom do I register a complaint for this ridiculous design flaw?!

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But anyway. They needed plane snacks and any excuse to bake is fine by me so these happened.

And I am soooo glad they did.

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Sorry in advance for the next bajillion posts being sweets, don’t say I didn’t warn you… Jill (of the blog Halfway There and the tamales and flan madness) and I are having our bimonthlyish baking extravaganza later today sooooo there will be cake and ice cream and cookies. And quinoa pizza…just to, you know, round things out. Because why make just one thing?! How boring. But more on that later.

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Also tacos. And feet. And there was a pool behind me and what more could you want on a weekend? Sadly that was last weekend (of the light side/dark side bars) and there is currently no pool in sight for me. Harumph.

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Also KALE!!! Could there be any more kale in this sandwich?! I think not. KALE EXPLOSION! Love love love. I know it’s random but KALE!!! is AMAZING!! And it’s my blog. So I’m sharing.

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But for now. BARZ. M&V needed something that traveled well and wouldn’t be too crumbly so obviously dates. And nuts for sustenance whilst traveling (much better than that garbage you typically find in airports). And only five ingredients, all whole foods, all things that come from nature and are eaten while still resembling their natural state. Wheeee!

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Pecan Date Bars

Beyond simple to put together! Chewy, naturally sweet and delicious. Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free!  Might be paleo? Easily veganized. Healthy fats [pecans], a good source of vits/mins [dates], antioxidants [extra dk chocolate] + protein. Perfect travel (or anytime) snacks. Recipe adapted from Ellaphant Eats, here! Makes 9 giantish bars, or more if you cut them smaller… but… why?!

  • 1 c pitted medjool dates [soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes if they’re like rocks]
  • 2 c raw pecans
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 eggs*
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate, chopped or chips (mine was chips for hurried baking)

*or two flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6tbsp water) veganizes this nicely 

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Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan with your thing of choice (I like coconut oil).

In a food processor (what on earth would I do without these?!), process softened dates and pecans until a sticky, clumpy dough forms. The pecan pieces should be relatively small (just don’t over do it and end up with nut butter…). Pulse in vanilla and sea salt, followed by the eggs. Remove the blade and stir in 1/4 c chocolate chips. Scoop the batter out into the prepared pan, and flatten it out with a spatula or your fingers or whatever. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top of the bars. Bake for just about 19-20 minutes, until the edges are browned. The center will still feel slightly soft, but a tester should come out clean. Let cool in the pan, then cut and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Baking. Because… camp is imminent!

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Welcome to my ritual.

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I ALWAYS bake before I leave for camp. I’m not sure when this started but… it did (shocking, I know… me? Baking?! Weird) and I have no reason to be breaking this delicious trend.

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And I leave tomorrow! This totally snuck up on me but I am so ready for ten days of mountain fun with my camp fambam. Dirt. Hair that could scrub out a pot (yes, I was told I should do that last summer and immediately decided I would shower; as much as I love having steel wool for hair) (my hair does really interesting things when it isn’t washed for a zillion days) (yes I’m too lazy to shower because I just get dusty again and I’m camping and I’m in the lake soooo who cares?!). Enough with the parenthetical rambles. Moving on.

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Campfires where I go to bed smelling like woodsmoke… brownies to die for even though they’re made with a mix, I’m obsessed… eating outdoors, every meal… stars so bright you think your eyes are malfunctioning… singing the most ridiculous songs because you can… yoga on the dock… a complete technology detox… beautiful scenery…friends. My indescribable camp family. So much Two Sentinels love!

But anyway, haven’t left yet, and in between last minute packing, I made these!

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Whole wheat buttermilk biscuit peach shortcakes with vegan caramel sauce and ice cream.

Because fruit.

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Peeeeeaaacheeesssss. My favorite part of summer. Actually that would be a tough call since I love berries equally as much… all the fruit. I want ALL of it!! But besides that, we happened to have an excess of peaches this week so instead of eating them all leaning over the sink with juice going everywhere, I made dessert. Of course.

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And happily fulfilled my pre-camp baking ritual! Happy days. See you on the flip side, let’s hope I get all the dirt off this time (unlike last year.. you know it’s good when there’s still dirt on your face *after* your post-camp shower…)!

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Whole Wheat Peach Shortcakes with Vegan Caramel (And ice cream. Obvs)

I like barely sweet shortcakes, since they highlight the super-sweetness of perfectly in-season summer fruit. Mmmm. These are whole wheat, made with buttermilk for a bit of a tang. Perfectly balanced against the sweet peaches and maple caramel.. and ice cream. Because summer dessert = ice cream. Or whipped cream, also fine, I just went with what I had. Shortcake recipe lightly adapted from Food52, here, and caramel borrowed from Blissful Basil, here! Yield: 6 shortcake/biscuits; I made a half batch of caramel for 4 peeps, so those measurements are listed below. Makes about a cup.

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For the shortcakes (whole wheat is good for youuuu! So is a little butter now and then):

  • 1.75 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into smallish pieces
  • 3/4 c buttermilk (mine was low fat)

For the filling:

  • An excessive amount of peaches, diced (I leave the skin on mine), tossed in a bit of coconut sugar if yours are less than perfectly ripe
  • ridiculously delicious ice cream of choice

For the caramel (full of healthy fats and good nutrients!! Winning):

  • 1/6 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c unsalted, creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 450, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter using your fingertips (my preferred method) or a pastry cutter, until things start looking like coarse cornmeal and the butter is distributed evenlyish. Make a well in the center (look! You get to play with your food!), pour in the buttermilk, then use a spoon or spatula to stir it all together, until just combined (do try not to over mix). Divide the dough into six cute little balls, then flatten slightly and place on the baking sheet. Bake for just about 15 minutes, until the tops are firm and lightly browned. Let cool slightly on a rack before serving.

While the shortcakes are baking, make caramel!

In a small saucepan over medium, heat coconut oil, almond butter, maple, and sea salt over medium until all are melted and incorporated. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two, which is excellent for instant gratification. Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm or cold, and store leftovers in the fridge!

I could tell you how to assemble your shortcakes but that might insult your intelligence… but I would suggest cutting them in half to get maximum cake square footage to soak up excessive amounts of ice cream and caramel and peach juice…

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“Adult” decisions and more cookies.

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You know what’s fun about being an “adult” [I use this term loosely..] and spending all day at the beach and it being summer+hot?

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Ice cream becomes a perfectly acceptable dinner.

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Trust me. Try it. Go to the beach first though, that makes all the difference.

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Barring that, once your kitchen isn’t a thousand degrees, make cookies! I mean really though… why on earth would I ever want to turn my oven on when it’s already stupid hot at 9 am. Good thing I put on dirtyish clothes to go to Jazzercise this morning because um HELLO SWEATING. So baking is clearly not an option today because I did enough sweating this morning and I really don’t feel the need to subject myself to inferno blasts from the open oven. No thanks. I mean, I suppose I could make some dashboard cookies but I don’t really relish the idea of walking outside and dealing with my oven hot car.

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Also ps. Being an adult is totally relative. I might look like one on the outside… but ha. Don’t be fooled. Sprinkles are the bomb. I will never ever in eleventh billion lifetimes grow out of rainbow sprinks. Or jumping for silly photos. I like to have competitions with myself to see how airborne I can get.

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I also apparently eat everything out of jars.

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But anyway. Enough whining about how hot it is and how I’m really a five year old inside my adultish skin suit. Let’s talk cookies, mmk?

These little guys come together ridiculously fast, which is how cookies should be in my book. They’re super fudgy and chocolatey, with just a little hint of banana flavor. I actually made them awhile ago, but I want them again. NOW. It is really unfortunate that there are no bananas to be had around here… how did THAT happen??

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Grain Free Chocolate Banana Cookies

These are straight up delicious. Fudgy and only a little banana-y, and lightish on account of the coconut flour. Don’t skimp on good dark chocolate for the chippies, that makes all the difference. Paleo, gluten free, grain free, and refined sugar free! Recipe only slightly adapted from Home to Heather, here! Yield: 10 good sized cookies.

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  • 1/3 c coconut flour (sifted if it’s super lumpy)
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 c raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, mash banana, then toss in eggs, honey, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously to combine. Pour wet into dry, add in chocolate chips, and stir until just combined. Drop batter by roundish balls onto the prepared cookie sheet, flattening them slightly. Bake for 12-14 minutes (mine were perfect at 13). Let  cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store any leftovers (ha) in the fridge.

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Cookies n’stuff.

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Excuses? No, not really.

I don’t have much to say for myself.

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Except that it’s FRIDAY which means…

I missed cookie Thursday, so obviously we need to have cookie Friday. Duh.

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Besides that, I am officially UN spotty AND I have tonsillitis no longer. What what! Clearly cookies are a necessary celebration. Besides that, I riffed on the lentil cookies again and these were too unusual and good not to share. I got the idea since I wanted to figure out another gluten free cookie based on lentils that could be chocolate free for my choco-free friends (Jill, these are for you!).

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I promise to do something savory or NOT a cookie some point soon. I mean, ideally my next post but my food life is unpredictable so no guarantees.

In other random food news (such is my life: a string of food-events. Breakfast! Snack! Lunch! Snack! Dinner! Snack!), Mutti had a birthday last week, which meant deliciousness at Boulevard and high tea. Which also meant a food coma ensued. Sooo worth it. Apparenlty there are also going to be a thousand pictures in this post, sorry I’m not sorry I reeeeealllyyy like photography (or whatever it is that I do)!!

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Truth:

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Additionally, did you know that eggs+sautéed mushrooms and spinach+chopped walnuts+chopped dates+a small sprinkle of parmesan is unaccountably delicious? Because it is. Promise. Hey!! This is savory. Mostly… Do I get any points for that??

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But anyway. Cookies. The reason we’re here in the first place. Happy allergen free cookie Friday! Proof that everyone can (and should) enjoy a cookie (or five) :)

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Peanut Butter Lentil Cookies

Lightly sweet, as I prefer my ‘snacking’ cookies (as opposed to full on indulgent dessert). Full of protein and fiber, as well as a host of other minerals and nutrients and such (phosphorus, manganese, Vit B6), they’re also gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free. I’ll snap to that. Recipe modified from the chocolate-chocolate chip lentil version from last week, here. Yield: 15 cookies (maybe would have been 16 if I could have stopped eating the dough, oops).

  • 1.5 c green lentils, cooked
  • 1/3 c organic salted peanut butter (mine was chunky)
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips**
  • 1/8 c raw cocoa nibs**

**replace with carob for chocolate-free cookie fabulousness!

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If needed, precook your lentils (1/2 c dry=1.5 c cooked).

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

These are beyond easy (thank goodness for that because excuse me but who wants to make complicated cookies when they want cookies NOW?! Yes, that’s what I thought): Toss cooked lentils into the food processor, and process until mostly smooth. Add in peanut butter, oats, maple, vanilla, coconut, and baking powder, and pulse until it’s all combined into a big, deliciously thick mess. Stir in chocolate chips and cocoa nibs (I just take out the blade and use the bowl of the food processor). Drop by the tablespoon-sized ball onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake 12  minutes until the tops are just firm. Let cool for a few, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Or just devour them immediately; why bother taking up fridge space for storage?!

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If life hands you lemons, you should obviously make lemon bars

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LEMON BARS!

With MEYER LEMONS!!

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Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Especially since we had a random little heat wave in the middle of last week. And of course, it hit Thursday and I immediately wanted cookies because apparently Thursday=cookies. But seeing as it was waaaayyy too hot for any normal person to want to even consider turning on the oven, I wisely opted for no bake, raw lemon bars. Because they took about thirty seconds to throw together and then all I had to do was shove them in the fridge for chill time until I ate them. Lazy lazy and very nearly instant cookie gratification. Wheee!!!

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Also, I love lemon desserts but I’m wildly picky. For instance, I find most lemon loaf cakes to be waaaayy too sweet—almost cloying and definitely icky. I love lemon scones and lemon curd—both of those are usually a good balance of not too sweet and just sweet enough. These bars totally fall into that category too—they’re not overly tart, but neither are they stupid-sweet.

Besides all that, they also happen to be raw, vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free! Sooo…. breakfast, anyone??

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And really. Anything with Meyer lemons: sign me up. They are SO much more exciting than a regular lemon (although these bars would also be delicious with regular lemons, I’m sure). Lemons=spring! Perfect springy dessert/breakfast/feelgoodtreat/younameit/please eat it.

That being said, these take pretty much five minutes to make so you have nooooo excuses. Lemon bars!! With nearly instant gratification!! YAY! Do it.

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Raw Meyer Lemon-Coconut Bars

Recipe lightly adapted from Pure Ella, here! Raw, vegan, no bake, gluten free, and refined sugar free. They’re full of healthy fats and whole grains… AND they’re delicious. Recipe makes about 9 squares—I did mine in an 8 by 8 pan, but I think next time I’ll use something smaller so there’s a  better crust to icing ratio.

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For the crust:

  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c raw buckwheat groats
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c dates, pitted (and soaked if they’re hard)
  • 3/4 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • fresh zest of one meyer lemon

For the icing:

  • 1/4 c unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • fresh juice of 1/2 a meyer lemon

Line your preferred pan with a parchment paper and set aside.

In a food processor, whiz together almond flour, oats, buckwheat, salt, dates, coconut, maple, and lemon zest until thoroughly mixed and blended (you’ll need to scrape the sides a bit). Upend the processor over your prepared pan, and pat the crust down with your hands until it’s evenly distributed.

In a microwave-safe bowl (or on the stove), melt coconut oil and maple syrup together. Once everything is fully melted, stir in coconut oil and stir until that melts as well. Set aside until this cools off a little, then stir in the lemon juice. Pour all this goodness over your prepared crust, and carefully transfer to the fridge to chill for at least an hour before cutting and serving. Keep it stored in the refrigerator, assuming there’s any left to store…

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Do I even need a reason??

 

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Mo’ chocolate.

Because.. why?

Wait. Do I really have to answer that question?! Because… chocolate! End of story.

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Besides, I actually made these cookies over a week ago but I’ve just been too busy and then Easter happened and there was that fabulously drippy hippie cake and stuff… and these cookies kind of languished in my camera for a little bit but they were SO FREAKING GOOD that I knew I would share them eventually. So don’t worry. I promise not to hold out on you too much longer.

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In other news… IT’S RAINING! Wheeeee!!! Which means I really want to bake something (because rainy weather=baking, everyone knows that), but as per usual I made a small batch of cookies last night because I was seriously (my autocorrect tried to change that to serially, also true) jonesing and I neededcookiesnow. So I made this awesome batch of vegan peanut butter-coconut-chocolate chippies, and they disappeared by 9:30 pm. I made them at 4:30. Ha. I did have quite a bit of help though, as prodigious as my stomach capacities are, I think that would have stumped even me.

But anyway, I really like cookies, can you tell?

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Also. I float in a hydrotherapy/sensory deprivation tank several times a week and even though I shower off really thoroughly afterwards, I always end up with epsom salts in my ear crannies the next day. I think it gets into my brain and then somehow works its way back out. I’m not really complaining, a good solid brain salting can’t be a bad thing now and then…

Soooo yeah. I’m endearingly random and salty but these cookies are ridiculously delicious—I highly suggest a cookie Friday incident. And if you make them, bring me one?! I’ve seem to have eaten all of mine…

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Grain-Free Chocolate Pecan Cookies

These are a little sweeter than the cookies I usually make for everyday consumption, but they are SO DELICIOUS. Fudgy, chocoaltey, pecantastic and they just happen to be gluten free, grain free, and vegan. AND refined sugar free! Winner winner. I adapted the recipe only slightly from The Healthy Family and Home, here! Yield: 22 cookies.

  • 1 c organic almond butter (mine was creamy unsalted)
  • heaping 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c roughly chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp ground flax+6 tbsp water (2 flax eggs)

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

These are cookies, peeps: this doesn’t get any easier!

In a small bowl, stir together flax seeds and water. Let sit while you do everything else: in a large bowl and using your biceps, stir together almond butter, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips and pecans. Toss in flax eggs. Drop by the rounded spoonful onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely. These are a little soft when cooling, so I just moved the whole parchment paper over and let them keep cooling completely on the rack. Store in the fridge, if they last long enough! Mine barely did…