Archives for December 2013

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013


Some relief.

Some excitement.

It’s been a tough and rough past two days, but today makes my week totally better.

It patches my broken heart just that much more.

Only because today is all about the 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.


Yes, it’s Christmas-time, so tis the season for cookie swaps.

What could be better than receiving amazingly delicious cookies from fellow food bloggers?

Not really anything, except that I got to bake and send my own cookie recipe to three of my fellow food bloggers.

I got some really, really, ridiculously delicious cookies this year, including Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons from Alyssa Rimmer at Queen of Quinoa, Dark Chocolate Lace Cookies and Cranberry Biscotti from Jacqueline at The Dusty Baker, and Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles from Cindy at A Sweet Simple Life.

I was in cookie heaven.

Thanks ladies!

Oh, and might I add the best reward of all: this is all done in the name of charity, proceeds are given to Cookies for Kids with Cancer.


All 3 of the ladies that I received for the cookie swap were gluten-free and/or vegan + a special lady that couldn’t have cinnamon.

No prob.

I got this.

Almond butter vanilla cookie dough.


Warm, soft and chewy cookies w/ a coconut butter vanilla glaze.


I mean, hello Christmas, how are ya?


This can’t get an easier.


These are definitely the type of cookies you leave out for Santa.



I totally felt like one of Santa’s little helpers


baking, packaging, and tying these up in pretty little red and white boxes.


Now, that’s how you do a cookie swap. 😉

5.0 from 1 reviews
Iced Vanilla Almond Butter Cookies
Recipe type: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
Soft, chewy vanilla cookies made w/ almond butter and iced w/ a vanilla coconut butter glaze. Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, refined sugar-free.
  • For the cookies:
  • 1 c. unsalted, almond butter
  • ¾ c. + 2 T. coconut sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 T. golden flaxseed meal + 3 T. water, let sit for 5 minutes)
  • ½ t. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. salt
  • For the icing:
  • 1 c. coconut butter, melted (you can do this in 15 to 20 second intervals in the microwave)
  • 4 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 t. pure vanilla extract
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the cookie ingredients, mixing until a smooth dough forms.
  4. Roll the dough into 1-in balls using your hands and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Using the palm of your hand, lightly press down on the top of each cookie to flatten.
  6. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are light brown.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool completely.
  8. To make 36 cookies, you are probably going to need to make 3 batches of this (that is what I did for the cookie swap, so just double up the recipe 🙂 )
  9. To make the icing, in a medium mixing bowl, melt the coconut butter and coconut oil together until just liquid.
  10. Stir in the vanilla extract and vanilla beans.
  11. To ice the cookies, you can either dip the tops of each cookie into the bowl of icing, or use a spoon to create a circular pattern around the tops of each cookie, filling in the entire top of each cookie w/ icing.
  12. Let the icing dry completely on the cookies before eating. You can speed up the drying process by putting them in the fridge to cool, but I just laid them out at room temperature for 30-45 minutes to cool.
  13. Devour.


A Dime a Dozen.

Ummmmmmm so, it’s Monday.


It’s been eons since I’ve posted a cookie recipe.

Well, at least it feels like it.

Cookies are my thang.

They are definitely my boo.

The peanut butter to my jelly.

We are about to put alcohol in your cookies.


Because it’s the holidays and lawd knows we all could use a little bit of alcohol.


Especially if your EXTENDED family is anything like mine.


Italian families have their problem child(s).


They come at a dime a dozen.


This is why we need bourbon in our oatmeal cookies.


Who needs wine


when we’ve got boozy cookies.


Oh and  chocolate chips. Mhhhhm.

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe type: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen
Crispy, chewy oatmeal cookies spiked w/ bourbon and topped w/ a sweet maple bourbon glaze. Gluten-free.
  • For the cookies:
  • ½ c. coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 c. coconut sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. pure bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1 t. bourbon
  • ½ c. + 1 T. gluten-free oat flour
  • ½ c. almond flour
  • 1¼ c. certified gluten-free rolled oats
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ½ t. fine sea salt
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips (I used the vegan Enjoy Life brand)
  • For the maple bourbon glaze:
  • ½ c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. pure bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
  1. For the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and coconut sugar until just combined.
  3. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and bourbon and mix until smooth.
  4. Stir in the flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until a dough forms.
  5. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips.
  6. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons on to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Gently press down on the tops of each cookie to flatten.
  8. Bake for ten minutes, or until the cookies have spread a bit and are lightly golden.
  9. Let the cookies cool completely.
  10. For the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, whisking until smooth.
  11. Dip the tops of each cookie into the glaze and let dry until the glaze has hardened.


A bottle of Rum.

 This past Thanksgiving was hosted with my father and mother at our house.

Yes, I still live at home.

Sue me.

I would say my sister helped as well, but really, she just watched futbol, ate turkey, and took a nap for 3 hours afterward.

She’s soooooo American.


 Anyway, our dessert table is always overflowing with everything sugary and sweet around the holidays.

This year’s hit: my grandmother’s Rum Cake.

Hello melt in my mouth cake from heaven.

This is my take on it since she won’t return my call to give me the recipe.


We are going to add some tangerine zest to this cake.


We like zest round’ these here parts.


This cake is infused w/ tangerine zest and vanilla.

Oh, and it’s soaked in tangerine juice.


Oh, oh and then it’s topped w/ a coconut rum glaze.




Alcohol in your cake…boom!

Vanilla Citrus Cake w/ Coconut Rum Glaze
Recipe type: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
Melt in your mouth vanilla cake zested w/ fresh tangerine and soaked with sweet, tangy, tangerine juice, and topped w/ a coconut rum glaze. Gluten-free, paleo, refined sugar-free.
  • ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c. + 2 T. pure honey
  • ¼ c. light, canned coconut milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 t. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ c. + 1 T. coconut flour, sifted
  • ¼ c. almond flour, sifted
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. salt
  • zest of two honey tangerines
  • juice of two honey tangerines
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 T. coconut butter, slightly melted
  • 1 T. full-fat coconut milk, at room temperature
  • 1 t. rum (I used Malibu coconut rum)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 in. square baking dish w/ cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, coconut milk, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Stir in the sifted coconut and almond flours, baking soda, and salt until smooth.
  4. Fold in the tangerine zest.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Out of the oven, gently poked holes into the cake using the tines of a fork.
  7. Sqeeze the tangerine juice over the cake, allowing the juice to soak into the cake through the holes.
  8. Once the cake is cooled, cover and place in the refrigerator until chilled.
  9. To make the glaze, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.
  10. Drizzle over the cake.
  11. Cut into squares and serve.


Rest in Pancakes.

I spent half the day on Sunday mourning Paul Walker’s death.

Yes. He is a celebrity.

But he is also a human being.

Celebrity or not.

I have been watching Paul Walker movies since jr. high school.

I’m pretty sure he was my first crush, even when he played the “bro-like, obnoxious character” alongside Freddie P. Jr. in “She’s All That.”

But he was more than just an actor.

Paul was the founder of Reach Out Worldwide, a charity dedicated to helping those who have been affected by natural disasters.

As someone who is pursuing a second degree in the healthcare field, I find it absolutely heroic that any ordinary person would give their time as a first responder.

Not only was he selfless, Paul lived life to the fullest.

As much as I want to live life to the fullest, I find it an every day struggle.

I don’t necessarily make up excuses, it’s more of a “afraid to follow my true dreams” thing.

I’m sick of worrying about what other people will think.

I yearn to be care free like Paul and so many others, care free to actually draw outside the lines and be myself.

On Monday night, I watched a video of Paul’s father who spoke through tears about how brave and generous of a person his son was.

The thing that touched me most was that Paul’s father spoke about his last conversation with Paul, which didn’t focus on the film industry, but what Paul had planned for his future, his dreams, goals, and spending more time with his daughter.

In tears, I tried to understand how a person with a heart of gold could be taken from earth so soon.

I started brainstorming for ideas on what I could do to step outside of my box, to pursue my dreams.

No more worrying. Full speed ahead.

My heart is with Paul Walker, Roger Rodas, and their families in this time of grief.

Not to mention, on Monday night I also found out that my second cousin passed away from liver cancer.

It’s been a rough start to my week.

Let’s eat some feel good food.

Pancakes always make me feel better.

They are true Americana.


These are the simplest pancakes you can make.


Oh, and they are made just for one.


These are the kind of pancakes that keep you company during a “lazy, cozy, stay in your pajamas all day Sunday” spent watching a Fast and Furious marathon.


These are also the kind of pancakes that will heal an aching heart.



These pancakes are a simple delight.


Heavy amounts of butter and maple syrup are encouraged. 🙂


Buckwheat Pumpkin Pancakes w/ Cacao Nibs
Recipe type: Breakfast, Pancakes
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
Light, fluffy, pumpkin pancakes made rustic w/ the use of buckwheat flour. Sweetened w/ a touch of maple syrup and dotted w/ cacao nibs.
  • ½ c. canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 t. pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
  • 2 T. buckwheat flour
  • 1 t. pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅛th t. baking soda
  • 1 T. cacao nibs, plus more for sprinkling
  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Grease w/ cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together.
  3. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto the skillet.
  5. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the underside of the pancake is lightly golden, then flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Plate and serve topped w/ extra cacao nibs and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 161.7 Fat: .3g Carbohydrates: 20.9g Sugar: 5.2g Fiber: 4.3g Protein: 12.9g


No more turkey.

Sorry for being M.I.A.

My only excuse is Thanksgiving.

Period. End.

I cooked and baked my little bitty heart out.

Oh, and I’m still feasting on leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato casserole.

It’s a shame that Thanksgiving isn’t year round’.

But then it wouldn’t be any fun not to be able to look forward to gaining 10 pounds at one meal.

I definitely wore my stretchy leggings on turkey day and ate to my heart’s content.

The dessert table was insane.

I stil want dessert.

Let’s lighten it up.

We are gonna put full-fat coconut milk in our banana bread.


Because we all need a little fat in our diet.


Oh the heavens.


If there is one thing that I can’t live without it’s coconut.


Toasted coconut is just the icing on the cake.


The coconut milk in this banana bread adds a creamy, melt in your mouth, pound cake like texture.


To make things even fancier we jazz this sucker up with a coconut yogurt maple glaze.


We are just gonna call this like it is…


a coconut milk banana pound cake.


Because I’m pretty positive this is what a pound cake is supposed to be.




up and dripped out.


Coconut Milk Banana Pound Cake
Recipe type: Cake, Bread, Snack, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Thick, creamy coconut milk gives this banana cake a dense, yet buttery like texture. Top with a coconut milk maple glaze. Gluten-free, paleo, refined sugar-free, nut-free.
  • For the cake:
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 c. full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¾ c. granulated stevia
  • ¼ c. + 3 T. coconut flour
  • 2 T. honey
  • ¼ t. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • For the glaze:
  • 6 oz. coconut milk yogurt
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
  • 2 t. full-fat coconut milk
  • Optional Topping:
  • ½ c. of unsweetened, flaked coconut, toasted in oven at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes.
  1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing and glazing.
  5. For the glaze, in a small mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.
  6. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
  7. Top with optional toasted coconut.
  8. Slice and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8 Calories: 142 Fat: 4.9g Saturated fat: 4.4g Carbohydrates: 22g Sugar: 12g Sodium: 61mg Fiber: 4.7g Protein: 4.2g