Dairy Free Oatmeal Cookie

A few weeks ago my husband asked me if I would bake cookies with him. I don’t think my ears have ever those words before. I thought in case this opportunity never presented itself again, I should run with it. He had a hankering for oatmeal raisin cookies, and they sounded good to me, too. Boy were the cookies good! But I kept thinking of ways to make them healthier. So I followed the recipe as it was, except I substituted butter with coconut oil and white flour with wheat flour. I also ground up and threw in some chia seeds.

This is what I got:

Matt had been gone for the evening and the cookies were cooling when he came home. He said, “Oh, what are you making?” I was pretty skeptical that my sweet tooth loving husband would ever come near these. I tried to play it cool and replied, “I was just baking some oatmeal cookies. Would you like to try one? He grabbed one and said, “Oh, these are good!” There you have it everyone, if my husband, aka “the cookie monster” approves of these, then they have to be good.

I know, I know, you might be thinking that a cookie is still a cookie no matter what. So just eat a cookie. What is the big deal?  I wholeheartedly agree. A cookie is still a cookie, but every little bit helps. If I can replace all of the bad fat with good fat without really noticing it in the taste or texture, it’s making a difference. And if wheat flour can replace white and still taste good, I’m all for it.

Here is what you need:

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs- room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup ground chia seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then take your coconut oil and put it in a container of hot water. It takes a couple minutes for the oil to become liquid in the water. It’s a good idea to take your eggs out of the fridge to bring them to room temperature. This helps the coconut oil blend well with the other ingredients while staying liquid.

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside

In another bowl take the coconut oil and beat it with the sugars. Then add the vanilla and eggs and beat again. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix it well.

Mix in oats, raisins, chocolate chips and chia seeds. Place rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool for a couple minutes and enjoy! Don’t be worried if they don’t flatten out like a traditional oatmeal cookie, they will still be delicious.

The Perfect Stencil

Stenciling can be so much fun. It can also be oh-so-frustrating when the paint bleeds through the stencil. It has happened to me more times than I care to remember. The solution? Freezer paper!
Simply take a piece of freezer paper and cut out your design. You can trace an image onto the freezer paper and cut it out by hand, or you can also print an image directly to the freezer paper and cut it out. I cut out this submarine on my cricut machine. Just place the freezer paper shiny side down and the machine will cut it easily.
Next, iron the outline onto your chosen fabric, again, shiny side down. The wax on the freezer paper will melt, forming a seal around your design. It is best to use fabric that has been washed without fabric softener.
Next, user fabric paint to fill in your stencil. You can put on quite a lot of paint. For this onesie I applied a couple of coats because I wanted the image to be very bright and bold on the onesie. Once you let the paint dry, you can peel the freezer paper off the fabric.
 Easy as that. And… no bleeding paint!                              

Kale Chips

Kale. Such a nutrient packed vegetable. Low in calories and high fiber,  iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, and K, (just to name a few) it should take center stage at the dinner table every night. I don’t know about your dinner table, but until I discovered the crunchy, chip-like texture and pleasing flavor of kale chips, it never made it on my plate. They really are good! And this is coming from a girl who is not big into her veggies. They so good in fact, I ate them right off the baking sheet.
Look at those beauties:
Simply gather:  

1 bunch of kale
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic or seasoning salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then take a bunch washed kale, remove it from the thick stem and tear it into bite size pieces. Place it in a Ziploc bag and add one teaspoon of olive oil.

Sprinkle in a teaspoon of seasoning or garlic salt. 

Give it a good shake.

Spread it out on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

And bake until the edges are brown, about 10-12 minutes. Easy! 

12 Months of Change

I’ve always had a desire to be healthy,  but after becoming a mom I’ve found myself naturally wanting to be even healthier. I want to set a good example, I want to have fresh, wholesome food to feed my little family and I want to see my baby grow up while staying in the best health that I can.

That brings me to what I like to call, 12 Months of Change. (Well, I don’t really like to call it that, but I haven’t come up with anything better.)

Anyway, 12 Months of Change (12MOC) is based on the idea that if you incorporate small changes slowly they can become habits, and eventually, lifestyle change. So each month I am going to integrate one small change.

January was easy. Matt and I discovered that we really like dark chocolate. We decided that were going to become a milk chocolate free household. We started buying dark chocolate, and worked our way up to our favorite, 85% dark. Milk chocolate is not off limits to eat, we are just not going to buy it. If it’s not in the house, chances are we will eat a lot less of it. So far so good.

Now the we are in the month of February it’s time to come up with another small change to make. Our insurance has a program where they reward you for being healthy, in the form of cash. Yep, I can earn $300 this year in a number of different ways, one of those being exercise.

This is very difficult for me as I have two modes: All or nothing. If I’m going to do something, I’m really going to do it. If I’m not going to give it everything I’ve got, why even bother at all. I’m either going to eat workout every day for an hour, or not at all.

Late Night Snacking Part 2

After an afternoon grocery store trip, I’ve come to share my findings on healthier snack options I found for my husband. I must start out by saying that my husband, as lovely as he is, is one difficult person to shop for.

The only fruits he will eat are apples and raisins. The only vegetables he likes are carrots and lettuce. None of which he wants to munch on in the evening. He also is not into trying new foods. I was eating some pomegranates before dinner and suggested he try one. He looked at them and responded, “I don’t eat things that are purple.”

So with that said, this is what I came up with:


Wheat crackers

Crunchy honey oat cereal

Honey wheat pretzels

Tortilla chips

And lastly and kind of funny, these ridiculous, yet somewhat intriguing, Whonu? cookies.

I love how these chocolate cookies contain “As much iron as a cup of spinach” and “As much vitamin E as two cups of carrot juice.” They claim to be an “excellent source” of 20 vitamins and minerals. All with only 6 grams of fat and 13 grams of sugar. I bought them as somewhat of a joke, but in all seriousness, I really care about my husband. I want the absolute best for him and I will buy him Whonu? cookies forever if I have to.

Late Night Snacking

Late night eating is usually a recipe for disaster. Or is it just in our house? Last night was no exception. We should have just gone to bed, but we didn’t.

My husband was getting hungry and was having trouble finding a snack that sounded good to him. After a little debate, (because we do have foods he likes) it turns out he’s right, there are not a lot of snacks that Matt likes in the house.

This led to an 10pm plate of waffles and an 11pm bowl of ramen noodles.

I don’t even know where to start.

Massive amounts of sodium, fat, carbs (just to name a few)….and all right before bed. My jaw is still on the ground.

But it’s so easy to point the finger, isn’t it? Let’s see…I ate waffles with him. Not exactly a snack bursting with nutrients. In fact it’s mostly carbs with some empty calories on top.

…Pointer finger not feeling quite as pointy…

And before that I had a bowl of oatmeal. Oh and some bran flakes. And if we’re being completely honest, 2 squares of dark chocolate. Whoops. While they might be slightly more nutritious  choices than Matt’s bowl of ramen, it’s not the point. That’s an awful lot of carbs that I am not going to use before going to bed.

…Pointer finger has left the building…

So after all that said, it’s my mission to get some healthy snacks in the house. I don’t care if I have to buy them, or make them from scratch, I will find healthy snacks that my husband will eat. And I will have more willpower!

Do you have snacking disasters? How do you overcome them?

Super Smoothie

I really like smoothies. A lot. I have been making the same basic orange juice and frozen fruit smoothie for years. Many different recipes for fruit and spinach smoothies have been circling the web lately. They all claim you can’t taste the spinach.


I like fruit, but veggies are hard for me to swallow, unless they are covered in some sort of nut butter or dressing. I was intrigued by the possibility of sneaking vegetables into my smoothies without noticing. (I know I’m like a 5 year old.)  All the recipes I found called for some sort of yogurt, but since my breastfeeding son’s tummy won’t tolerate dairy, I had to wing it and make up my own recipe.

I started with orange juice. Aldi had oranges on sale for .99 and I couldn’t resist. I can never resit. I bought a bag and made my own orange juice. It ends up costing the same as most store brand orange juices, but it’s fresh and has a lot less sugar. And I think it’s fun.

I added 2 cups orange juice into my blender. I threw in a ripe banana, a kiwi, 1 cup frozen blueberries and some frozen strawberries. At this point I didn’t have any room for spinach, I had to blend it a little first.

I blended it up and after tasting it, decided it could use some more spinach. I  wanted to cram as much spinach in as possible without tasting it. And my spinach was on it’s last leg and probably wouldn’t make it to the next day. So I added a bunch more. I blended it again, tasted it, and what do you know, it’s really good! The spinach is slightly noticeable, but still nice and fruity. And there are some crazy nutrients in there.

My blender filled 3 pint size mason jars, giving me a few days worth of smoothie. I added a tablespoon of chia seeds to each jar for a little extra punch of  protein, fiber, omega 3’s and antioxidants.

The color is not quite as pretty as a simple fruit smoothie, but it’s so good for you, it doesn’t even matter.

Hand warmers

I know, handwarmers, right? The snow is melting and it’s 40 degrees outside, who needs handwarmers?

While I’m not big into resolutions, I am a fan of self improvement, and this year I am going to make an effort to finish projects that I start. 
With that said, I started making rice bag hand warmers as Christmas gifts this year. I completed all of them except for Matt’s cousins in West Virginia. I had the best intentions, but they just didn’t get done. So I am going to finish them, and they will get their Christmas gifts, even if  they get them two months late and warm outside. After all, and idea is an idea unless you do something about it, right?
They are a lovely family of seven, so this mean I have fourteen rice bags to make.