chocolate chunk gingerbread cookies

If you are looking for a soft gingerbread cookie with a hint of chocolate, then look no further.  These cute little guys maintain their softness (thanks to coconut oil), and they pack a big ginger and cinnamon punch. Enjoy one, or more than likely two, with some hot chocolate for a perfect treat!

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from My Whole Food Life

Ingredients
2 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
1 – 1+1/2 t. ginger (depending ginger flavor)
1+ ½ t. ground cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. organic vanilla extract
1/3 c. 100% pure maple syrup
1 free range, organic egg (optional: flax egg replacement)
1/4 c. coconut oil (warmed in microwave to soften, but not liquefied)
1/4 c. unsulfured molasses
½ clean chocolate bar, chopped into chunks (I like Liberty Chocolate)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Combine and whisk wet ingredients until coconut oil is pea size or smaller.  Add roughly 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula. Repeat until dry ingredients are combined into the wet.  Top with chocolate chunks.  Dough will be too dry to mix in chocolate using spatula. With your hands, work the chocolate into the dough just until the dough becomes shiny (warmth of your hands will begin to melt the coconut oil resulting in a shiny surface and provide additional moisture).  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface (or between two sheets of parchment paper) to 1/4 – 3/8 inch thickness.  Cut out cookie shapes and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges begin to brown ever so slightly.  Do not over bake. Gingerbread men will still be soft in their belly regions when done.

Note: I bake them on a baking stone. If using a baking sheet, they may require less baking time.

Confession: for the pictured gingerbread cookies, I forgot to stir in the chocolate. I improvised by pressing chunks into them as if to create chocolate buttons 😏

Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
1 – 1+1/2 t. ginger (depending ginger flavor)
1+ ½ t. ground cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. sea salt

Wet Ingredients
1 t. organic vanilla extract
1/3 c. 100% pure maple syrup
1 free range, organic egg (optional: flax egg replacement)
1/4 c. coconut oil (warmed in microwave to soften, but not liquefied)
1/4 c. unsulfured molasses
½ clean chocolate bar, chopped into chunks (I like Liberty Chocolate)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Combine and whisk wet ingredients until coconut oil is pea size or smaller.  Add roughly 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula. Repeat until dry ingredients are combined into the wet.  Top with chocolate chunks.  Dough will be too dry to mix in chocolate using spatula. With your hands, work the chocolate into the dough just until the dough becomes shiny (warmth of your hands will begin to melt the coconut oil resulting in a shiny surface and provide additional moisture).  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface (or between two sheets of parchment paper) to 1/4 – 3/8 inch thickness.  Cut out cookie shapes and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges begin to brown ever so slightly.  Do not over bake. Gingerbread men will still be soft in their belly regions when done.

Note: I bake them on a baking stone. If using a baking sheet, they may require less baking time.


Confession: for the pictured gingerbread cookies, I forgot to stir in the chocolate. I improvised by pressing chunks into them as if to create chocolate buttons 😏


dark chocolate pumpkin cake cookies

Despite the flat and unappealing appearance of this batch, they were yummy. “Why are they flat?” You may be wondering.  Or, maybe you are like me and could care less as long as they are good. For those who do care, there are lots of reasons cookies end up flat.  In my case, a warm baking stone was the culprit. I set the baking stone on the oven while preheating… oops.

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from Feel Great in 8

Wet Ingredients
¾ c. organic pumpkin puree
½ c. unrefined coconut oil, softened but not melted
6 organic eggs (3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites)
2 t. organic vanilla extract
¼ c. pure maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 c. organic coconut palm sugar

Dry Ingredients
1 c. whole white wheat flour
2-3 t. pumpkin pie spice
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. sea salt
3/4 c. chocolate chunks (I like Liberty Chocolate – dark or extra dark)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar). In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Gently stir in the chocolate chunks.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the bottoms have browned slightly.  Note: the cookies will still be soft and cake-like.

blueberry oatmeal breakfast cookies

These are “kitchen pantry cookies.” With lots of optional add-ins, you can throw in whatever is in the pantry.  Consider chocolate chunks, nuts, raisins, etc.  I added some extra honey because my bananas were nowhere near ripe.  If your bananas are super soft and ripe, reduce the honey.

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from How Sweet Eats


Dry Ingredients

  • 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat pastry
  • 1/3 c. organic ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large organic egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. organic coconut palm sugar (yes, this is a wet ingredient)
  • 3 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T. organic butter, melted
  • 3 T. organic milk
  • 2 T. organic vanilla extract
  • 3 T. to ¼ c. local honey (increase honey to ¼ c. if your bananas are not ripe and/or if you like things a little sweeter)

Add-ln Ingredients

  • 1 c. fresh organic blueberries
  • 1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds, optional
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (my favorite is liberty chocolates), optional

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient.  Stir gently, just until combined. Stir in any or all of the add-in ingredients.  Use a scoop to create cookie mounds. Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for approximately 15 minutes.  (If using a baking stone, a few more minutes may be needed)

Note: I added the full amount honey to this batch because my bananas were nowhere near ripe.  If your bananas are super soft and ripe, omit the honey.

honey whole wheat (or oat flour) chocolate chip cookies

Finally, a “clean” chocolate chip cookie that truly tastes and looks like a chocolate chip cookie.  If whole wheat isn’t your bag, then grind up some oats and use oat flour instead. I dare you to eat just one.

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from Bless This Mess

Dry Ingredients
1 c. old fashioned or quick cooking oats
1 c. white whole wheat flour (alternative: 1.5 c. oat flour – grind up oats in your blender)
1.5 t. baking powder
½ t. sea salt

Wet Ingredients
½ c. local honey (not raw)
1/4 c. creamy nut butter
1 organic egg
2 T. coconut oil, melted
2 T. organic butter, melted
1t. organic vanilla extract

Stir In Ingredient
½ c. clean eating chocolate chunks

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a slightly larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Gently stir until just under-stirred.  Stir in the chocolate chunks, reserving a few to sprinkle on the tops of the cookie mounds. Create cookie mounds with a scoop or two tablespoons.  Flatten mounds by hand just a bit. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chunks.  Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for approximately 12 minutes.

breakfast cookies

A great grab and go, guilt free breakfast item.  Or, it’s a great treat for when a cookie craving hits!

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from Weelicious 

Dry Ingredients
1 c. whole white wheat flour
2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. flax seeds

Wet Ingredients
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (alternative: soften coconut oil)
1/2 c. organic, unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. pure maple syrup (alternative: honey)
1 large organic egg
2 t. organic vanilla extract

Stir In Ingredients
1/2 c. organic raisins (alternative: dried, unsweetened cranberries or cherries)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. You can do this by hand or alternatively in a mixer. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir a few times by hand. Finally, fold in the stir in ingredients by hand. Use a large scoop to create individual cookie dough mounds. Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for 12-15 minutes (slight browning at the edges = done).

What are Zoodles? I’d tell you, but it would be better if you just tried them!

Hey, didn’t We Eat For Real already feature Corn and Tomato Pizza and Easy Caprese Salad with Grilled Chicken? Yep.  This blog showcases what happens in my kitchen each week.

Read food meal planning takes time.  When I first started planning real food weekly menus, I made a new meal every.single.night.  I quickly realized that was not feasible if I wanted to keep my sanity.  Preparing a new recipe takes more time than a recipe staple.  So, weekly menus in mi casa contain staples and one, maybe two, new recipes.  Hopefully, that doesn’t turn you off.  I’m just keeping it “real” here [pun intended :)]

That being said, a new recipe for me this week was Italian Zoodle Pie. The zoodle (i.e., zucchini noodle) is a game changer for folks looking to reduce or avoid carbs.  Zucchini as a pasta replacement really works.  Does it taste exactly like a noodle? Nope. But, you won’t miss the pasta – promise.  To make this recipe faster, you’ve gotta get a spiralizer or zoodler. There’s really no other sane way to create the zoodles.  I can’t imagine trying to cut zoodles by hand with a knife!

All I’m gonna say about the Corn and Tomato Pizza is…it’s loose your mind good.  The dashes of hot sauce take this to another level.  The Shaved Broccoli Salad is a great summer dish.  This could be a big hit at a summer potluck, office lunch, etc.  My little one said, “no way” to this dish at first.  After her two bite rule, she changed her mind.  Her only complaint: “the bites are too big and crunchy.”  #easyfix #chopsmaller

The Easy Caprese Salad is an all time family favorite.  At it’s most basic state, it’s a four ingredient meal!  You can take it a step further and add additional flavor depth with a drizzling of the balsamic reduction.  However, if don’t have the time, don’t make the reduction.  It will still be fan-freaking-tastic!

The other new recipe this week was Almond Oat Cookies.  The original recipe called for almond flour.  Well, I didn’t have it.  So I used almond meal.  What’s the difference between almond flour and almond meal? Read more here.  I added some vanilla too because all cookies taste better with it (if you ask me).

Hope Something Makes Your Belly Smile…


 Almond Oat Cookies

Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life

Almond Oat Cookies

1 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 c. almond meal (alternative almond flour)
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 c. coconut oil (softened)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner (alternative: baking stone).  In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.  Form into balls using a large scooper (or ice cream scoop).  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

Tip: If using almond flour instead of almond meal, cookies may require less baking time (reduce by 5 minutes).


Italian Zoodle Pie & Organic Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Adapted from Weelicious

Italian Zoodle Pie

4 small/medium organic zucchini, zoodled or spiralized (My Spiralizer is a favorite gadget in my kitchen)
2 large organic eggs,
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 c.  organic marinara sauce (check label for sugar, soybean oil, & other fillers)
1 (15 oz.) can organic diced tomatoes, strained to remove excess liquid
10-12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 c. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 t. Trader Joes 21 seasonings salute, divided (alternative: Italian herbs)
1 c. organic mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the zucchini using a zoodler or Spiralizer.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and ¼ c. Parmesan cheese.  Add the zoodles to the egg mixture and toss to evenly coat.  In a deep dish pie pan, add the zoodles.  In the previously used mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta, remaining ¼ c. Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon of dried herbs, and fresh basil.  Evenly spread the ricotta mixture on top of the zoodles.  In that same mixing bowl, combine the marinara, diced tomatoes, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of dried herbs.  Pour an even layer of the tomato mixture on top. Top with the shredded mozzarella.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Organic Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 handfuls of your preferred organic greens

Salad Ideas
¼ c. sliced olives, optional topping
¼ red onion, very thinly sliced, optional topping
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
2 T. ricotta cheese (alternative: goat cheese or other soft cheese)

Balsamic Vinaigrette
¼ c. balsamic vinegar
½ c. olive oil
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. local honey
Sea salt/pepper, freshly ground

Directions:  Add ingredients to a lid with a jar.  Shake and pour over organic greens salad.


Corn and Tomato Pizza

adapted from Bev Cooks

  
Dough
Trader Joe’s premade whole wheat dough, prepared per package directions

Pizza Toppings
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced or chopped
2-3 NON GMO sweet corn ears, shucked (OR 2 c. frozen NON GMO sweet corn)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small pkg. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 c. organic mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
Tabasco style hot sauce, optional topping (recommended if you omit the jalapeno)

Directions: Preheat the oven to required pizza dough temperature. In a medium/large skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and jalapeno (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the corn and sauté another 5 minutes. The next step happens quickly because you do not want to burn the garlic! Add the garlic, stirring constantly, allow it to cook until for about a minute or until you can really smell it. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the skillet and add the cilantro. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and allow the heat to release their juices (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat. With the dough on the pizza stone or baking sheet, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the corn mixture. Crumble the goat cheese atop the pizza and add the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake according to your pizza crust directions.

This is amazing –  especially with a few drops of hot sauce on each slice!!!


Easy Caprese Salad 

adapted from Savory Sweet Life

  
2 pints organic cheery or grape tomatoes, halved
16 oz. fresh “mini” mozzarella pearls, halved
6-8 T. olive oil
Big bunch basil leaves (18+ leaves), finely chopped or get fancy and chiffonade
½ -1 t. sea salt
½ – 1 t. freshly ground pepper
Balsamic reduction, optional (easy recipe below)

Directions: In a medium bowl, gently toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a drizzling of balsamic glaze (optional). Serve immediately.

I usually serve this with grilled or pan seared organic chicken breasts.

Balsamic Reduction

1 c. store bought balsamic vinegar
4-5 drops organic stevia drops, optional (alternative 1 T. organic coconut palm sugar)

Directions: In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar and stevia.  Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until it has reduced by one-half (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.  It’s done when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.


Pan Seared Herb Chicken and Shaved Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad Adapted From Taste Love And Nourish

Shaved Broccoli Salad

Dressing
1/4 C. organic plain Greek yogurt
2 T. apple cider vinegar
4-5 organic stevia drops (alternative: 1 t. local honey)
3/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Set aside.

Broccoli Salad
3–4 small broccoli heads,
1 small organic red apple, cubed (do not peel)
½ c. organic raisins
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
½ c. sliced almonds (alternative: pine nuts)
½ c. shredded organic cheddar

Directions:  Remove broccoli stalks.  Retain 2” of the floret stems.  Slice florets lengthwise. Cut apples into cubes.  In a large bowl, add all salad ingredients.  Pour the dressing over the salad.  Stir to evenly coat.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat

Tip: The longer it’s refrigerated, the better.  Refrigerate while preparing the chicken and that will do the trick.

Pan Seared Herb Chicken

3-4 organic, free range, chicken breasts
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh herbs of choice, chopped (ideas: basil, oregano, rosemary)
(alternatives: 1 t. dried Italian seasoning, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
sea salt/pepper, freshly cracked

Directions:  In a small bowl, combine the oil, herbs, and salt/pepper.  Brush chicken with oil mixture.  Grill (or pan sear) on medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and cover with foil until ready to serve.