Fudgey Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Evergreen candle burning, Mariah Carey blasting, oven preheating, baking sheets loaded with dollops of every kind of cookie dough and just enough flour and cocoa powder dusted (somehow) over my entire body: it's Christmas, y'all.

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The magical time of the year where "regular" music is abandoned, twinkly lights welcome you around every corner and peppermint swirls seem to decorate every sweet treat in sight. For anyone that knows me, they know that I go ~in~ on Christmas.

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As soon as the turkey leftovers are placed on the fridge shelf, I'm pulling out the ornaments, picking out the tree and, oh yea, making an extensive list of cookies that need to be made. Not sure if overkill is the right word, but the amount of cookies I make tends to 1000% be overkill. Once all flavor profiles are accounted for (gingerbread, molasses, chocolate, mint, citrus, peanut butter, coconut... should I continue?) there are about 12 solid recipes that need to be made...

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BUT, over the years I've narrowed the list and only have about five to make this year (it's called restraint, be proud of me plz). To kick things off, I wanted to bring in one of my favorite combos: mint and chocolate and give it the health kick of the rest of my cooking.

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Fudgey, slightly sweet, rich, soft, flavorful and studded with the slight crunch of cacao nibs, these are the perfect cookie to kickstart the Christmas lovin' (really wanted this to have the same ring as summer lovin' but ya win some, ya lose some) without mountains of butter and sugar. Inspired by the paleo treats of Rachel Mansfield, these lovelies come together simply with a food processor and an ice cream scoop. Let's do this thang.

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Fudgey Mint Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies (Makes about 3 dozen small cookies)

.5 of an avocado

1 cup black beans

.5 c raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

.25 t salt

.75 c unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

.5 cup dates (pitted)

1 egg

1.25 t peppermint extract

.75 c almond meal

.25 c shredded coconut, unsweetened 

.5 c super dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I used 85% dark) 

.25 c cacao nibs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. 

2. In the bowl of a food processor, add everything but almond meal, coconut, chopped chocolate and cacao nibs. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides when necessary. 

3. Add almond meal, coconut, chopped chocolate and cacao nibs. Blend until well combined, scraping down the sides to make sure there are no unmixed pockets.

4. Using a small ice cream scoop (or tablespoon), portion out cookie dough on prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 14-17 minutes, depending on how fudgey you like them. They'll be super soft when you first remove them from the oven but will firm up as they cool. 

5. Enjoy warm or store in the pantry or fridge (I like mine cold, it seems to bring out the mint flavor a little bit more). 

I hope you enjoy the recipe! I've been testing out a lot of paleo baking recently and have been ~loving~ it... If you have any recs of things you'd like to see, lmk! I hope you all have a cozy holiday filled with loved ones (and loved cookies). 

xx

Squash Pie Smoothie Bowl

'Tis the season (am I allowed to say that before Thanksgiving? Bc I am soo...) and I could not be more ready. I've broken out the parka, evergreen scented candles and have been cooking with cozy warming spices like its my damn ~job~.  Not even my smoothies are immune.

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I've always been a smoothie-with-a-spoon >> smoothie-with-a-straw kind of person. I want my smoothies to be THICK. I want that how-can-I-even-get-this-out-of-the-blender texture, the one that makes even the bravest of Vitamixes groan, just a tiny bit. However, starting my morning with a big ol' load of fruit doesn't always sit right in my stomach. So, when I started seeing bloggers using veggies as the base of their smoothies (Lee, Jeannette, Rachel and many more) I was very intrigued (and yes, extremely doubtful that it wouldn't taste like a weird cold vegetable soup). And, I'm excited to say that, after a few tries, I found veggie blends that I ~love~ way more than other smoothies I've made. I don't see ever going back to 100% fruit smoothies (I love how important this sentence sounds??).

My favorite, and a perfect seasonal combo to ease you onto the veggie smoothie train: squash pie. And, let me tell you. This. Smoothie. Tastes. Like. Pie. Packed with leafy greens, cozy spices, creamy squash and just enough fruity sweetness, this smoothie is what I imagine ice cream would taste like if you froze straight up pumpkin pie filling. I make mine super thick (give that blender a workout) and top it with some fun crunchy toppings for a little texture. I'm loving Purely Elizabeth's granola right now and always go for some pumpkin & hemp seeds and toasted coconut flakes, but this is totally up to you. 

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I know it's a little chilly for a smoothie breakfast but, I like to enjoy mine post-hot matcha and it hits the spot every time. There's also something kinda fun about cozying up in bed and eating a cold smoothie. Idk. Is that just me?

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Squash Pie Smoothie Bowl (Serves 1)

.25 frozen banana

1 medjool date

.5 c spinach

.5 frozen cauliflower (I use Trader Joes' frozen riced cauli for easier blending)

.5 c frozen kobucha squash (again from TJ's)

1 T hemp seeds

1 T flax meal

.5 T chia seeds

.5 c unsweetened almond milk (or just enough to get it blending)

generous dashes of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom (to taste)

To top: Purely Elizabeth granola, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds (to taste)

1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until well mixed and super thick, adding liquid just to keep it going. Serve in a mason jar or bowl. Top with your favorites.

This is one of my absolute favorites, I ate it for about 2 weeks of breakfasts straight. Let me know what you think! The jump from fruit to veggie smoothies is a scary (and can be a slightly mud-colored one) BUT it's so worth and it really opens a new world of nice cream possibilities. 

xx

Morning Moments (& Matcha)

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know I've developed quite a ~thing~ for my morning matcha. A morning person at heart, the simple green tea quickly turned into a cozy ritual, one I wake up craving. Heating the water and milk, carefully portioning spoonfuls of matcha, maca and other yumminess into the blender, and finally snuggling up with the warm mug, all make for the perfect ease into whatever the day holds for me. 

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I like to drink matcha on an empty stomach, after drinking 16 oz. of room temp water and within 30 to 45 minutes of waking. It's the perfect time to reflect on what my day looks like and also gives me time to check into my body and see what kind of fuel and movement it needs for that day.

In addition to matcha powder (I use culinary grade, but make sure to always buy Japanese which is the purest quality)I'm currently adding some ingredients that might sound a little atypically tea-like. These are absolutely not necessary, I add them either because they give me a boost, add yummy taste and texture or I'm experimenting to see how they fit into my diet. I'll go into them in brief detail, but especially with adaptogens, this is where health and wellness becomes about you and how they make you feel. Yes, I love adding maca and collagen to my matchas, but that 100% doesn't mean that it's right for you, or that you should feel like you need eight ingredients in your latte. Do a little research, test it out (if you want) or go easy breezy with simply matcha in hot water. Listen to your bod. It'll tell you, promise.

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Ashwagandha: an Ayurvedic herb, this adaptogen supports the immune system, boosts strength and calms stress and anxiety. I use Sun Potion's blend which you can order here.

Maca: made from a South American root, this ancient superfood has been used for thousands of years to increase energy, balance hormones and improve focus. It also adds a lovely & nutty depth of flavor to lattes and tonics. I've used Organic Burst's (order here) but Trader Joe's also just started carrying their own which I love as well.

Collagen Peptides: I've been torn about collagen for ~ages~ and finally decided to test it out. After hearing all of the claims for strong hair & skin & nails & bones, I've been using it for about 3 weeks and haven't noticed anything major yet (my nails are feeling very strong recently, though...). That said, I am going to give it more time and will keep you posted on the final verdict. It also makes lattes extra frothy and creamy. I'm currently using the OG, Vital Proteins which you can order here.

Raw Honey: high in antioxidants, antibacterial properties, immune boosters and even sleep promoters, I could go on and on about honey. It also doesn't hurt that it tastes incredible. I'm currently working on a 5 pound jar of local VT honey (and am making ~impressive~ progress). The biggest tip for honey is make sure to get raw and local! If you want to get fancy with your honey, check out Beekeeper's Naturals who have an incredible range of products and inspiring mission/founding principles.

Cinnamon: more commonly used than the others on this list, the actual medicinal benefits of cinnamon tend to go unnoticed. The sweet spice is high in antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory and can even combat high levels of blood sugar. Again, it also tastes amazing so is a pretty easy add to basically everything. No specific brands here, just make sure to get a high quality, pure cinnamon.

I use a blend of non-dairy milk and hot water, but that is also completely up to your preference. Recently, I've been swapping out almond milk for a tablespoon of coconut cream, which is absolutely lovely and deepens the matcha flavor. One note for hot water: you don't want to use boiling water on matcha. This will burn it, reducing the health benefits and leaving you with a bitter tasting matcha. After bringing water to a boil, let it sit for a minute or two before adding your tea.

Now, let's get matcha-ing! 

Everyday Matcha Latte (serves one)

.75 c hot water (just below boiling)

.74 c unsweetened almond milk, warmed (or swap for 1 T coconut cream and increase water to 1.5 c)

1 t Japanese matcha

1 t maca powder

.5 t ashwagandha powder

.25 t cinnamon

1 t raw honey

1 scoop collagen peptides

1. Add all ingredients to a blender, blend on high for 1-2 minutes, until frothy and well combined. Pour into a mug and enjoy hot. Can also be made iced by simply using cold milk and water. 

And that's it! If you test it out, I would love to see. Send me a message or tag me on IG and join me in my cozy morning matcha. 

xx