Mega Oat Chip Cookies – Serves 10+

New decade, new goals. Who’s with me? I’ll be discussing my primary focus right now and I hope this helps you get motivated! Especially those of you that are mamas!

Lots of changes occurred since my last post. My mother passed away August 2019 after a brave battle with an aggressive rare case of Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL). She is forever with me and especially in my son.  The best part is that he has reddish hair and my mother had red hair… His smile lights my heart on fire.

From the moment I knew he was going to make an entrance into this world my dietitian brain was sending me signals. I knew that breastfeeding would be the best gift I could give my son. Not every mother can breastfeed and there is nothing wrong with that or formula but luckily I found success with breastfeeding. I exclusively breastfed which was a real challenge when at work full-time. So many colleagues asked how I did it and frankly the credit must go to my diet.  I went back to work when Dominic was 6-weeks old and that is when I began to really pay attention to the types of foods I ate since I wanted to ensure that my milk production did not decrease.

Foods that promote lactation may not always work for some women but its a good idea to ensure that your diet includes them for the overall nutritional benefits. These foods are called galactagogue foods which need to be consumed in variety and daily in the diet. These foods include: flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, fennel seeds, oatmeal, almonds, garlic, dark leafy greens, and brown rice.

So to sum it up… my focus was being as healthy as possible with some indulgences to ensure that my nutrition was ideal to promote lactation.

These cookies are loaded with galactagogue foods. More importantly, these cookies taste amazing so they are NOT just for you but for the whole family!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts (or whatever nut strikes your fancy)
  • OPTIONAL: To change up the sugar content you can decrease the amount of brown sugar and sub with 2-3 finely chopped medjool dates (tastes amazing)

Methodology:

  1. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients (including the chocolate chips and nuts) and mix.
  2. Add in the liquid ingredients and mix.
  3. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scooper – create little balls and place evenly spaced on parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or 20 minutes depending on how large your cookies are. If they do not flatten then use a fork to gently press them down.
  5. Enjoy with hot tea, milk, or even wine… I choose wine.

xxx – Sarah

Nutty Chocolate Drops – Serves 10

This has quickly become my favorite go to when I have a sweet tooth…  It’s free of the major food inflammatory agents aka gluten, peanuts, eggs, and dairy.  Another winning bullet point is that it’s free of white refined sugar and its sweetness is derived from dates.

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Medjool dates are a great fruit to add sweetness to a dish without reaching for processed sugar or its alternatives.  Unlike other fruits, its nutrient content lacks vitamins A and C.  However they are a great source of energy due to their carbohydrate/sugar content, potassium (dates beat bananas in this department), and soluble fiber.  Therefore if you’re making a smoothie pre-or post-workout be sure to add a date or two!  Now, this may be a bit TMI but if you’re constipated be sure to add some dates into your life!  The dates work as a great solidifying agent to give your bowels a push.

Let’s get down to business.  If you are craving the sweets instantaneously, the good news is that this tastes phenomenal without being cooked and is safe for consumption.  However, if you can wait a few minutes – pop these drops into the oven for 5-10 minutes!  Also, good news, if you’re not a chocolate person that’s okay because these drops taste amazing without it!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil; melted
  • 1 cup cashews; soaked and strained (try to soak for 10-15 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter; crunchy or creamy (unsalted and aim for crunchy for some texture)
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal; dried
  • 3-4 medjool dates; remove the pits
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL but highly recommended: 1/3 cup milk or dark chocolate mini chips
  • To taste: sea salt (I added about 1-2 pinches)

Methodology:

  1. Utilizing a food processor, combine all ingredients BUT the chocolate chips.  Pulse until blended then transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the chocolate chips and stir well until the mixture appears uniform.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper, create small drops/balls using a tablespoon and/or your hands to mold.  Set each drop/ball about a ‘thumb’ of distance between each other.
  4. If you want to eat right away – do so.
  5. If you want to wait and cook em – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 5-10 minutes until golden then set aside to cool.
  6. If you want to wait and have em cold – place in the refrigerator and nibble when ready.
  7. It’s time for some dates in your life.

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xxx – Sarah

 

Pomegranate Spiked Strawberry Bacon Dates – Serves 7

The holidays are winding down but with the colder weather still upon us the parties continue thus New Years resolutions beware aka ‘damned if you and damned if you don’t.’   Who said you have to start the new year without a taste of heaven?  Just choose wisely try not to go back for seconds.  This is my favorite appetizer creation of 2016 so far!

Tips to prevent overeating:

  • Select a dessert plate whose diameter excluding the rim is 4-5 inchesIMG_4127
  • Only one plate serving aka only one trip to load the plate
  • Keep everything on the surface of the plate rather than creating piles
  • Food should not graze the rim (#thestruggleisreal)

 

Recently when visiting Gruene, Texas, I came across a fabulous shop called The Gruene Olive: Tasting Room – just opened about 2 weeks prior to Christmas and is the perfect space to grab a tasting and leave with goodies for families and friends.  This delicious recipe utilizes their Pomegranate – Quince White Balsamic Vinegar!

Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar:  1) Low in calories, high in antioxidants called polyphenols, and 3) Low in sugar/low glycemic index.

Ingredients:

  • 7 medjool dates; sliced into quarters
  • 9 slices of bacon; trimmed (remove the fatty white areas)
  • 3-4 large berries; sliced from the bottom up then halved
  • 2-3 tbsp pomegranate-quince white balsamic vinegar; for drizzling
  • Cooking tools recommended for best results and easy clean-up: parchment paper and toothpicks

Methodology:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a baking sheet place add a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Combine one strawberry slice with a medjool date slice then wrap with bacon.  Only use just enough bacon to wrap then cut and use the remainder of the bacon for the next date/strawberry combo.  After cutting the bacon and wrapping the date/strawberry then secure with a toothpick.  Repeat until all the dates are gone.
  4. Drizzle the wrapped dates with the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Cook for 25-30 minutes until browned or until the aroma cannot be resisted.
  6. Chew your way to heaven.

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xxx – Sarah