Saturday, July 12, 2014

Coconut Oil Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since discovering coconut oil, I have truly been amazed by this product.
 
In our house, coconut oil is used to soothe burns, moisturize dry skin, and of course add a special touch to meals and baked goods.
 
I've used coconut oil in granolas, oat bars, and as fat source when cooking, but never in chocolate chips cookies...until today.
 
You guys. I kid you not, these are the best cookies I've ever had.

 
Call me crazy for saying this, but I may never use butter again.
 
FOR THESE COOKIES.
 
Let's be clear, I'm not giving up on butter. But I am SO much more pleased with the cookie coconut oil puts out vs. butter.

 
These are not your light, airy chocolate chip cookie either. The oil makes them hearty, moist, and dense which I LOVE. And even though I really really love coconut, these cookies do not have an overwhelming coconut flavor. It just adds a little spark :)

 
Perfectly paired with an ice cold glass of coconut milk!
 
Make these and have a happy Saturday!
 
 
Coconut Oil Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted into liquid form
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together coconut oil, sugars, vanilla extract, and egg.
  4. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Roll dough into 10 balls (dough will seem oily and you may have to press the chocolate chips into the dough for them to stay).
  7. Place dough balls on cookie sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly golden brown around the edges.
  8. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
 
ENJOY!
 
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cooking with a Newborn: Flour Tortillas & Blueberry Coconut Bars

Ok, I think I have this whole motherhood thing down.


Just kidding.
 
But it is getting easier every day!
 
I've been able to put her down and get a meal on the table, which a few weeks ago was unimaginable. Thanks to amazing family and friends, we were more than well fed the first few weeks. But in the last few weeks, cooking and baking has been almost a daily occurrence for me, which makes me feel awesome and human again.
 
Last night was taco night in this house, and after realizing that we were out of tortillas and having zero desire to load the kiddo up in the car JUST to get tortillas, I decided that I would try making my own. I've always wanted to, so I thought, why not?! Worst case scenario, it is an epic fail, I waste a whole 4 ingredients, and we have taco salads. No big.
 
Thankfully it was a delicious success and I am officially never buying pre-packaged tortillas again. These were soft, hearty, warm, and embarrassingly easy to make.

 
These would also be great to use for wraps since they are almost like a flatbread. Seriously, so good.
 
 
Yes, I need to work on my shaping technique, considering that most of them resembled the shape of Africa. But they still did the job! Yum yum!
 
Ok, now on to the Blueberry Coconut Bars.
 
 
I am awake for most of the night these days and find myself starving almost every morning around 3 AM while feeding the babe. I kid you not, these bars have SAVED me.
 
After plowing through 5 boxes of Luna Bars (that's THIRTY Luna Bars, people) that my mom bought me when we first came home from the hospital, I was a little burnt out on them but still needed an easy snack for my middle of the night hunger attacks. Enter Blueberry Coconut Bars. Super simple to make, SO good, and better for you than store bought bars.
 
 
There are certain things that I never aspire to make at home and will always buy at the store...like Oreos and Justin's Maple Almond Butter...but tortillas and granola bars are two things that I can permanently take off the grocery list.
 
Make these!
 
...or buy them at the store. I won't judge. But you won't regret making these, that's for sure! :)
 
Happy Wednesday!
 
 
Homemade Flour Tortillas
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4  cup hot water
  • olive oil
 
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Cut the butter into the flour with a fork and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add 1 cup hot water to mixture and mix until the dough starts to come together. Add in the remaining 1/4 cup if the mixture still seems dry.
  4. Roll out dough ball onto a floured surface and divide into 8 balls.
  5. Lightly coat the dough balls with olive oil, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. After chilling, roll the dough balls out on a lightly flour surface to desired thickness.
  7. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium high heat.
  8. Cook one tortilla at a time on the ungreased skillet, 15-30 seconds on each side.
  9. Serve warm.
 
 
Blueberry Coconut Bars
 
Ingredients:
  • 4 cups whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, flour, sugar, coconut, blueberries, and salt.
  3. Mix in the oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture into pan, spread out evenly, and pat down firmly into pan.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.
 
 
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Monday, July 7, 2014

A Letter To Our Little: One Month

To my beautiful Kennedy,
 
You turned one month old yesterday.
 
How is this possible?
 
It feels like we brought you home yesterday.
 
This month has been full of changes, excitement, sleep deprivation, passion, and more love than I ever thought my heart could contain.
 
Among other fun, amazing moments...
 
You had your first photo shoot. You were a trooper.


 
We went on our first grocery store run together, just me and you.
 
You had a meltdown in the baking aisle, and after I almost abandoned my cart in the middle of the aisle to get you home and happy, we were brave and stuck it out. This resorted to me carrying you in my left arm and pushing the cart with my right.
 
Thanks for my first workout in a month and a half.

 
You met your great grandparents for the first time on July 4th.
 
I think they adore you almost as much as I do.

 
You are already growing out of your newborn clothes and diapers and on to bigger and better things.
 
I'm not ready for you to grow up. 

 
You are starting to find a sleeping rhythm at night, which I think we both appreciate.
 
You also have every farm animal noise down and entertain me all day with your oinks, neighs, and quacks.
 
I'm pretty sure I kiss your cheeks 1,000 times a day and I'm not one bit sorry.
 
You are the epitome of joy, love, and pure happiness and I can't imagine spending one day without you.
 
Thank you for the best, hardest, most amazing, rewarding month of my life. Your mommy and daddy love you more than anything and want the world for you.
 
Happy One Month, Little One.
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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Motherhood: The Hard, Honest, Beautiful Truth

Hey, guys.
 
Soooo, motherhood is hard.
 
It's funny. When you ask most new moms the infamous question of "So, how's it going?", most moms will be very polite and respond with "Oh my gosh, these last few weeks have been the best weeks of my life" or "Motherhood is beautiful" or "Gosh, so great!".
 
Well, all those responses are indeed genuine and so very true, but I'm here to throw in a few real responses, because let's face it. The glow of a new baby does not outshine the reality of the situation. The reality that...
 
I'm exhausted. Like...really really exhausted. 
 
Honestly, I've been pretty impressed with myself and my ability to operate off of little to no sleep these past 3 weeks. And as much as I wish I could "sleep when she sleeps" during the day, I have been unable. It is incredibly hard for me to sleep once the sun comes up, turning me into a delirious zombie for most of the day.
 
I'm starting to get cabin fever.
 
 I have felt as if I'm "stuck" almost every day. I want to get out of the house, but the idea of exposing my perfect little honey bee to a gross, dirty world keeps me in. And just the sheer thought of her having a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store terrifies me.
 
I officially have a "mom" body.
 
My hips are wider, I can feel my belly jiggle when I walk, and my butt no longer exists. It's just one, long thigh back there.
 
I feel pretty frump-tastic.
 
On top of my new "mom" body, wearing pajamas all day, every day makes me feel pretty frumptastic. Yes, I could put on real clothes and do my hair and makeup, but why? It's just me and the gal, and she's not judging.
 
Eating enormous amounts of food and not being able to work out is making me depressed.
 
Breastfeeding has turned me into a bottomless pit, and not for carrots and celery sticks. I dream about burgers and fries and pizza and having whole chocolate cakes all to myself. Oh, and I haven't been cleared to workout yet since my abdomen was sliced open to retrieve my baby, so I am seriously lacking in the endorphins department.
 
I wish I could hit a fast-forward button.
 
We have been blessed with this perfect, tiny miracle and I find myself wishing she would wake up one day and be 3 years old and eating real food and sleeping through the night and using her words.
 
I feel like a cow.
 
Other than the obvious reason of not being able to fit into anything other than old gym shorts with elastic waistbands, milk spurts out of me like a fire hose at the most inopportune times. For instance, when she finally falls asleep at 3 AM and I am starting to fall asleep myself, I am woken up by a soaking wet shirt that came out of nowhere.
 
...just to name a few.


 
The good thing about all of these "negatives" is that all the positives that you hear about motherhood are true and make this new, crazy stage of life so very worth it.


All of these issues melt away the second I look into her beautiful face or hear her little love squeaks.

 
And even though I find myself wanting to fast-forward to an age of more independence, the ability to hold this little nugget with one arm as she snuggles into my chest at night makes me want to stop time in it's tracks.


So, to confirm everything you might hear from new moms, it is so great. It is so worth it. It is the most beautiful time in my life.
 
I'm glad that she's not making motherhood convenient for me, because we don't grow from convenience.
 
I only write this so other new moms out there do not feel alone when they find themselves asking the question "Why did I want a baby again?". You're not alone, but the second that question crosses your brain, go to your baby. Hold that baby tight in your arms, look into his or her perfect face, and watch all of those "negatives" vanish. They will, I promise :)
 
Happy Sunday!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Coconut S'mores Sprinkle Brownies

We have absolutely not found a rhythm yet, but I can officially say that girlfriend has her nights and days flipped. This would actually be a doable schedule if I could sleep during the day, but unfortunately I have never been a big napper and am finding it impossible to "sleep when she sleeps"...as everyone continues to encourage me to do.
 
So what does a new mom do when she's running off of Luna Bars, 2 hours of sleep, and new baby adrenaline? She bakes.
 
Something about baking makes me feel sane, as if life is manageable...even when it seems a little chaotic.
 
 
 When deciding exactly what to bake, I thought it would be a great idea to just dump everything that I love into one delicious pan of brownie heaven.
 
So these are Coconut S'mores Sprinkle Brownies, because I crave coconut daily, am attracted to anything that says the word "s'mores" on it, am addicted to rainbow sprinkles, and love brownies because I'm human.
 
 
I hope you like all these things too, because these brownies pretty dang good. Top them with vanilla ice cream, eat them at 3 AM, and think of me...because that's probably what I'll be doing over here too :)
 
 
Coconut S'mores Sprinkle Brownies
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows (or jumbo marshmallows cut in half)
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Mix in eggs one at a time.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until barely combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chunks and coconut.
  7. Pour the batter into the pan.
  8. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs on top.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, sprinkle marshmallows and sprinkles on top, then bake for 10 more minutes, or until marshmallows are golden brown on top.
  11. Cool completely on cooling rack before cutting.
ENJOY!
 
 
 
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