Monday, April 27, 2015

The Best Cookies EVER

     Yes, so that title there might be a bit of a hyperbole, but I recently discovered some pretty amazing cookies that I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO SHARE. Now, before you all get too overly excited, I do have to warn you:  They are not traditional cookies. You might be hesitant, or even a bit repulsed perhaps, when you read the ingredients, but I promise you, these are revolutionary cookies. Revolutionary

     So for a brief bit, I was going gluten free, and that usually means no fun treats like cookies, etc., because traditional flour is just loaded gluten and is the easiest way to produce baked goods. But I wasn't going to let that stop me from satisfying my sweet tooth, which isn't actually very sweet, but that's sort of beside the point. Anyway, Pinterest is a wonderful source for all sorts of things, gluten free recipes among them. I had decided that I wasn't going to put the money or effort into things which require multiple types of flours, or generic gluten free flour, so most of the recipes I pinned called for ingredients which one does not normally associate with baked goods. Such as chick peas, black beans, or, um, sweet potatoes. While I'm not continuing with the gluten free thing (not sure I noticed a difference), I am really kind of smitten with the idea of cookies that are actually healthy and good for you. Okay, so the gluten free ones that basically consist of only a nut butter and sugar might not be all that great for you, but these sweet potato ones are.

Yes, those are my slippers. 
Original recipe found HERE.

     The basic gist of the recipe is mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, almond butter, and cinnamon. Yup, that's it. You can stop making that face now. Mix it all together, plop on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, bake @ 350* for roughly 15 minutes and cool on a rack. Boom. Healthy cookies.

     I've discovered that I'm not really a follow the recipe exactly kind of person, so I ended up modifying the recipe a little. I used leftover sweet potatoes that had coconut oil and a little cinnamon mixed in; opted for peanut butter instead of almond, roughly measured; and added in dark chocolate chips, because I like them. I highly recommend using the parchment paper - even with spraying my sheets the cookies stuck a bit. The original recipe recommends flipping the cookies between 10-12 minutes, but I think I'm going to skip that next time. 

     Taste? Great! I didn't notice the sweet potato at all, thanks to the peanut butter. Of course, the chocolate helped a little too. Consistency was like that of a very moist cookie, and I opted to store them in the fridge, which helps blend the flavors better, I think. And the best part? No guilt about eating ten at a time! Because it is basically like eating a serving or two of sweet potatoes, only yummier! Not that I've been one to fret about eating as many cookies as I wanted, but it is nice to know that these are actually a healthy choice when I want a treat. Check out what The Paleo Mama has to say about the awesomeness of sweet potatoes in her post about her version of sweet potato cookies (also on my  list of cookies to try):  
  • Have massive amounts of beta-carotene, an important antioxidant
  • Contain twice the amount of fiber as white potatoes
  • Have high levels of B6 and Potassium
  • A potent source of manganese (helps stabilize blood glucose levels)
  • Are rich in vitamin C and E
  • Contain iron, magnesium, and vitamin D
Yeah. Basically guilt free cookies. The best thing ever.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Stress Eating

     She sat, looking at the cinnamon roll on her plate. It was a good one, gooey with cinnamon, topped with a cream cheese frosting. Well, not really a frosting - it wasn't thick enough for that - but neither was it the thin consistency one typically pictures when thinking of a glaze. She shrugged her shoulders; ultimately, it didn't matter. This was her favorite kind, and it little mattered what the topping was called. 

     It had been a long day, she was tired and just needed a break from it all. She picked up the roll and began to dissect it. Some people like to eat them from the edge on in, but not she. No, she preferred to find the edge of the roll and unroll it, eating it one piece at a time, savoring the buttery blend of cinnamon and sugar that comprised the filling, plentiful on every bite that way. As she popped the first piece in her mouth, she could feel her body relaxing, releasing the built up tension from the day. 

     "When did it come to this?" she asked herself. "Finding solace in food?" She sighed, thinking back on her life. It wasn't always like this. The food was healthy enough growing up. When there were treats, they were just that, treats, and more often than not home made ones at that. Even now, grown woman that she was, she still had ingrained in her that three or four cookies was the "limit". Excess wasn't the problem, thankfully. 

     College didn't change her eating habits too badly; if anything, it made them slightly better as a result of the not so great food served up at meal times. Eating what many would consider non-filling junk for so long leaves one longing for real food. She smirked at the memory. Marriage hadn't changed her diet much, either. So what was it? 

     "Children," she breathed, "it was the children that did it." Only it wasn't that simple. It wasn't the children, necessarily, that caused her so much stress - it was the food. Silly, yes, but that was how it was. Mostly dinner. For some reason, she was finding it difficult to merge the boys' dinner time with what would be her husband's dinner time, due to the early bed time that the boys had. Oh, and the fact that dinner prep time coincided nicely with super fussy time, which made even the easy, quick, healthy recipes seemingly impossible. 

     "Who has time to actually prep things?" she asked, nearly aloud. "Clearly not someone with little people tugging at their pant legs, crying because who knows why." She sighed, and her head dropped. It started because trying to cook real food was stressing her, so she opted for quicker, not so good for you food in order to keep her sanity. Then it somehow snowballed, going from 'food is stressing me, I want comfort food', to 'I am just stressed, I need comfort food'. 

     Her eyes started to moisten; her current bite of cinnamon roll stuck in her throat. She hated that she felt this way. She hated leaning so unhealthily on food. She hated her inability to stop, even though she knew it was just a vicious cycle. Stressed, comfort food, guilt about comfort food, stressed, repeat. 

     She sat, looking at the gooey center of the cinnamon roll, her absolute favorite part. The frosting had melted down, nearly covering the entire morsel, mingling with the syrupy cinnamon which was also concentrated there. "My favorite part," she thought, as a tear slid down her cheek, landing with a soft plink on the edge of her plate. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

And #3 Is...

     So, we found out who is arriving in August, and were waiting for Easter to announce uber-publicly. Well, Easter has come, and here it is!
Mary Ryan
     Mary Ryan will be joining us in August! This is the best picture we could get of her; the placenta is in the front, so it was a little difficult to get to her. Which is good information for me to know, since I wasn't feeling her as much as I had by this time with the boys, so I was getting a little worried that something might be off. Like, missing limbs and stuff. 

     The pregnancy has been going pretty well, now that we are out of the morning sickness stage. The mood swings could very well have been due in large part to the fact that we have a girl coming. Extra unstable female hormones, flooding the system, you know. 

     Excited? Um, sometimes. Scared mostly. But that is the subject of multiple posts, I think. 


     And I think that's about all, except for my exciting discovery of varicose veins in the back of my thighs. Huge ones. I'm not pleased with this discovery, in and of itself. But is nice to know why my legs have been feeling bruised and sore for the past few months. Trying a blend of cypress, lemon, orange, and lavender essential oil on them to see if it helps any. It is supposed to. A friend also gave me a trial version of Arbonne's Seasource Detox Spa Renewing Body Gelee, which she says helps hers since it contains ingredients that are anti-inflammatory. 

  And I thought I lost this whole thing, and spent some time typing up a second, only to find out that this one was saved. Urgh. I think it's time to stop the typing now.