Friday, May 31, 2013

Cinnamon Citrus Seed Cookies--raw, simple and filling.

Yesterday I learned the secrets behind my fave cookie at a well known natural and organic grocery store in my area at part one of two of my work day.  Too often it is my treat of choice post SPX Pilates three-class teaching spree, or my reward after a long run.  Or short run, really.  Learning the true recipe inspired me to create my own healthier version sans tons of orange juice and walnuts, to which my body refuses to accept as food.

These taste especially good after baking from 5am-10:30am then running just under 6 miles then teaching three back to back Pilates classes.  For reals.  I might have to enjoy more tonight after insane day of work round two!

My version is less sweet but just as filling and chock full of those little sesame seeds that provide oh so many minerals and antioxidants.

Cinnamon Citrus Seed Cookies 


1 cup almonds 
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup apricots, soaked in hot water for several moments
6 medjool dates
1/4 cup raisins (or even better, apple-juice sweetened cranberries--oh-my-gosh-yum)

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed juice of an orange
1 teaspoon orange zest

optional: 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for garnish


Food process seeds and nuts, then add in moist apricots, dates and raisins.  While processing pour in half cup of the hot apricot water ("apricot water" referring to the water the apricots were soaking in).

Dump contents into bowl, and stir in cinnamon, vanilla, fresh squeezed juice and zest.

Use an ice-cream scoop to create a level packed scoop of raw cookie dough.  Leave plain or roll little haystack-shaped dough in the toasted sesame seeds.

Yields 12 giant raw cookies.  And the best part is, they can be enjoyed any part of the day!  Don't tell the husband....but I ate avocado grapefruit kale salad and a few of these for dinner last night. Yum!

Also, you do have the choice to throw in a few more dates, or maybe even get wild and toss in nondairy chocolate chips if you need more of a "dessert" cookie.  Well...want, not need I guess.

A just because, he is just too cool not to share:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to make your pumpkin bread (or anything for that matter) healthier

Ok, here it is:  the secret to baking healthy.

1.  Take your fave recipe, say for Pumpkin Bread and reduce the sugar by 1/4 to 1/2 cup less than what it calls for.
2.  Swap part of the butter or oil for mashed fruit, such as applesauce or banana that is not a strong flavor but will lend moistness and provide natural sweetener.
3.  Use egg whites instead of whole eggs, or for vegan recipes, a mixture of apple cider vinegar and nondairy milk, or flax meal with water as an egg substitute.
4.  Sub some of the regular or gluten-free flour with almond meal, or better yet, what I will now dub "power meal": half almond meal, a fourth quinoa flour and a fourth ground chia or flax.

Play around; it's the best way to custom your treats to your taste and lower the fat and sugar, not to mention calories!

Bonus points if you enjoy it with a steaming cup of green tea.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The best kind of morning...involving pancakes!

Due to a moment of I-have-some-free-time-why-don't-I-add-another-job, I've found myself working part-time in a bakery, mostly for more experience and for the chance to get back in the kitchen professionally...even if it's not long term.

That said, I somehow got conned into waking up at 4 am several times a week to drive almost half an hour to my job.  So of course the one morning I have to sleep in, I popped wide awake at 3:45.   I didn't sleep much after that--my pre-sunrise morning involved letting the dogs out to pee, only to have Yogi tear after a (possum?  large rat?  something equally terrifying?) and then me whispering "get back here!" and sprinting after him, hoping the neighbors wouldn't awaken to find me running through their yards in what were definitely pajamas.  Zeke, our 90lb golden-doodle lumbered alongside me, crushing flowers to avoid leaving my side.  When I had them finally back in the house, I lay wide awake, thinking I might as well get up and run.  This turned into a 6.1 mile job, which then turned into an insane craving for a sweet and filling breakfast.

Thus, my new favorite breakfast was born:

Flourless Banana Chia Pancakes

Ready?  Super easy and delish.
1/2 of a large overripe banana, mashed with the tines of a fork
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
1 egg
1 egg white

Mix in a bowl, let set a few moments to thicken.
Heat skillet over low-med heat.
Lightly grease with coconut oil, and pour in batter.  Let cookie 2-4 min or until lightly set, flip, cooking otherside.
Serve warm, no syrup or anything needed--moist and sweet as is!

Pair this with 1/2 cup strong cooled coffee and 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk garnished with an ice cube and straw, and you have the best start to a Wednesday ever!  Bonus points if you have two golden-doodles curled up at your feet.

P.S. yeah, they may not be the prettiest, fluffiest pancakes in the world...but try a bite.  You won't mind the appearance, trust me.

P.P.S.  These clearly aren't vegan, but they ARE gluten-free.  (obvi)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday morning motivation to get out of bed: Breakfast Cookies!

I was wanting these for dessert, but having already treated myself to dessert of a small sweet potato, last night I enjoyed a cup of tea with my dogs sprawled on me instead. They dozed half on the couch, half on my legs, rendering my limbs numb as I read a library book while taking the occasional pause to think of what would be my next healthy baking creation.

Winning a contest for my Lavender Almond Cake this weekend inspired me to keep creating more recipes.  Though I only won a gift basket and coupons, the thrill of winning anything immediately sparks my creativity and often results in hours in the kitchen, playing around with measurements, incorporating my trusty pale pink food processor, and snapping away with my new camera (hubby and my gift to ourselves post-wedding).

This morning, hunger and a desired to consume protein resulted in these tasty treats.  I added a few rice chocolate chips, but had I had dates still in my cupboards, dates would have been the sweetener of choice.

Maiah's Breakfast Cookies

1 tablespoon organic sunflower seed butter
1/3 cup organic sunflower seeds
1/2 cup air puffed shredded unsweetened coconut
filtered water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
2-3 tablespoons rice chocolate chips or 3-4 organic medjool dates, pitted

Food process all ingredients, adding more water if necessary.  Roll into little balls and chill or as my impatient self did, eat immediately.  I added a handful of bing cherries to my breakfast, before setting out on a four mile walk to Oceanside with the doodles.