2018 is right around the corner. If any of you are like me, then you are welcoming in the new year with a big exhale and a mumble of "finally". Can y'all tell that I am equally grateful to have survived 2017 as I am to see 2018 on the horizon? This past year taught me a lot of lessons, but this was the most important: some things in life matter far more than other things. And it is so easy to get caught up on things that really don't matter in the end.
When it comes to diet, there are a ton of things to obsess about that really don't make a difference! A friend in Austin was talking to a group of people that were supporting each other in losing weight. During the discussion, someone asked, "so, I have been told that it is better for us to eat cooked carrots than raw carrots. What do you think?"
My friend is a very smart man, who also happens to be especially funny with a particularly sharp sense of humor. He looked rather seriously at the woman and said, "Honey, let's be honest. None of us are here because we eat too many carrots."
Isn't that the truth though?! But it is way easier to obsess about cooked versus raw carrots than it is to think about making real changes....
Some Things Do Matter Though
While eating too many cooked or raw carrots may not be the source of all your health woes, it turns out eating too much of some foods/additives may actually contribute to many health concerns. From ADD to mental illness to diabetes, one of those foods that seems to be non-arguably on that list of dangerous foods to consume in excessive amounts is sugar.
Now listen, before you stop reading or start arguing.... that doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of delicious foods! That just means you have to be a little more creative in flavoring foods and finding excuses to try foods that don't rely on sugar as the primary source of flavor.
For Christmas this year, I gifted my family with six different types of delicious homemade cookies. Like all of my recipes, these cookies were vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, and really low in added sugars. In order to keep our taste buds entertained and our bellies full though, I developed some really creative recipes with many different flavor "treats".
This first one is a little spicy, a little sweet, and a whole lot chocolate-y. Truly a tasty-treat that won't cause too much damage to your waistline! Hope you and your family with warm up with these cookies this winter too!
I like cookies, any cookie you put in front of me -- animal cookies, sugar cookies, anything crunchy.
-- Maria Shriver
Spicy Hot Chocolate Cookies (that just so happy to be low in added sugar)
prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 15-30 minutes
Makes: 25-40 cookies
1 1/4c all-purpose gluten-free baking flour
1/4c almond flour
3/4c cocoa powder
1/2t cayenne pepper
1t cinnamon +1t for "dusting"
1t baking soda
1/2c coconut oil or vegan butter
1/8c maple syrup
1/4c Whole Earth Baking Blend of stevia & raw sugar + 2T for "dusting"
2-5T non-dairy milk
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
In another medium bowl, whisk together oil/butter, maple syrup, stevia/sugar blend, vanilla, and non-dairy milk.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until fully combined. The batter will be thick. (I wash my hands really, really well and use my hands to combine the dry & wet ingredients).
Using about 1T of batter each, roll the cookies into small balls. In a small bowl or plate, combine the extra 1t of cinnamon and 2T of stevia/sugar blend. Lightly coat the small balls of raw cookie dough in this cinnamon & sweetener blend.
Place the cinnamon-sweetener coated balls of cookie dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press the cookies gently with a fork. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until lightly crunchy on the outside.
Allow to cool, then enjoy these heat-packin' cookies!