Healthed-Up Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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I’ve been keeping these in my back pocket for months now. Not literally, of course. But the recipe!

During my pregnancy I decided I needed something healthier to indulge in when my cookie cravings were rampant. These are gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and surprisingly delicious!

I wouldn’t recommend tinkering with the recipe a ton because it can be finicky. Oat flour can vary in its coarseness so if your dough seems way too wet, try adding a bit more. I love the nutty flavour it gives the cookies, especially coupled with coconut sugar, which gives a toasty flavour that reminds me of graham crackers. Also, don’t think about skipping the chilling or you will have a mess on your hands.

These cookies are super filling and delicious fresh out of the oven and dunked in milk. I do prefer them the day they are baked so I freeze the extra dough balls and bake fresh as needed. Give them a try the next time you need a healthier treat!

Healthed-Up Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes one dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, measured solid
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Instructions:

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or silicone liner.

Melt the coconut oil in a large mixing bowl in the microwave (or melt it on the stove and add it to a large bowl), then stir in the sugar until smooth. Chill mixture for ten minutes or so in the refrigerator until room temperature.

Once mixture is cooled, stir in the egg and vanilla. Then add the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well until dough forms. It might seem a bit wet but this is normal. Stir in the chocolate chunks then drop tablespoons of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake cookies for 6-8 minutes. The oat flour dries out quickly so don’t overbake! The centres should look a bit raw. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.

Notes:

Don’t chill the dough without scooping the cookies first unless you have time for it to warm back up. It gets really hard and you’ll have trouble scooping it after it’s cooled.

I like to flash freeze the cookie dough balls during the chilling stage and then store them in a freezer bag for cookie emergencies. Just bake the frozen dough balls for an extra minute!

I buy my coconut sugar and oat flour at Bulk Barn. You can also blend oats until fine to make your own oat flour.

 

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Three Months of Motherhood

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Happy September! Before I had Leo I kept saying that I felt like June was the perfect time to have a baby because I got to enjoy the summer. In retrospect I think maybe March or April would be the perfect time. I finally feel like I’m just sort of starting to get a bit more sleep and finding some comfortability in my role as a new mom and…summer is over? Ah well. Life is becoming so much more fun with our little guy and every day is something new.

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Although we weren’t able to do a bunch of the traditional summer things like camping or beaching we did several road trips to visit family, grilled a ton and ate our fair share of ice cream. I learned to bake pie and became obsessed with trying new ones (next up, French Silk). We went for a ton of walks around our neighbourhood and just worked on adjusting to life as a family of four.

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Leo is doing great. His tummy issues seem to be resolved mostly due to my cutting a few things out of my diet, onion being the one he absolutely can’t seem to tolerate. Breastfeeding is still going well and we’ve even gotten him down to one nighttime feed a few times recently which makes me feel like a million bucks with a bit more sleep under my belt. He is growing like crazy and every time we see the doctor she is always shocked at how quickly he’s jumped up. He’s now over fourteen pounds after coming home from the hospital at six. His first vaccinations came and went and were heartbreaking of course. He’s smiling a ton, chatting more and more and loves being sung to.

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Some things I’ve found really helpful as a new mom:

– forcing myself to get out of the house once a day even if for a minor errand (unless baby is having an off day of course)

 
– handing over bathtime and a bedtime bottle to Tommy so I can have some time to myself if desired. This has become an awesome bonding time for them.

 
– meal prep at the beginning of each week. I prep overnight oat bowls for the week’s breakfasts as well as some sort of a healthy lunch. Some of my favourites: Quinoa Glow Bowls, Italian Pasta Salad and Curry Chicken Salad. This is especially helpful on those crazy fussy days.

 
– also, making a batch of something healthy to snack on each week, like granola bars or energy bites. This keeps me from eating junk when sleep deprived. Bonus points that these recipes in particular are good for lactation.

 
– just being honest when I’m having a hard time and could use some help. After a long string of sleepless nights I confessed to my family how much I was struggling and they have made regular trips to visit since then. It’s been a huge weight lifted for me.

 
– the new Tim Horton’s iced lattes. Have you tried them yet?

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Things I’d like to prioritize for fall: look into some sort of mommy and me activity with Leo, get in as many walks as we can before it gets cold and start reading again! I’ve totally slacked off on that front. I’d also like to fit in a date with my husband, and wear something other than sweatpants in front of him, although he’d never complain. He’s a good sport, that guy.

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I had grand plans to blog a ton on maternity leave but I keep reminding myself that these days are fleeting and I just want to soak up all I can. I also fear that this is coming across as a bit of a mommy blog these days, but it’s always been a reflection of my current life and nowadays it’s all about the baby over here! I do have several posts in the works, like our current fave baby products, a cloth diaper update and a healthed-up chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve had in the works forever but still need to share. How was your summer?

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Cherry Streusel Pie

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Have I ever told you that I’m not a pie fan? It’s always been my last choice when it comes to dessert. Coincidentally, I also happen to be married to a man who requests pie on the regular and in truth, I usually try to steer him in a different direction. Until lately, that is.

Having a new baby means I’m often sitting up in the middle of the night and internet-ing and I kept coming across incredible looking pies with summer fruits. I was missing being in the kitchen and felt like challenging myself so I decided to make Tom’s day and bake him one. The first pie I made entirely from scratch was this blueberry crumble one and it came out so well that I was inspired.

I quickly learned that making pie isn’t nearly the production I’d imagined it to be, and it even happens to be a fabulous dessert to make with a new baby. I can make all of the components at different times and set it aside if I need to; a cake would never tolerate such treatment.

For Tom’s birthday this year, he requested pie instead of cake. His ultimate favourite is cherry and I got right to work. I mixed a few different recipes to come up with this one. The crust is flaky, the filling is bright and juicy and the streusel adds the perfect salty-sweet crunch on top. Something about making a pie is just so darn satisfying to me now and this one will be made over and over around these parts.

Cherry Streusel Pie
Serves 8

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening, softened
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Cherry Filling:

  • 600 gram bag frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Instructions:

Make the crust:

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it is pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat.

Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 tbsp. at a time, and stir after every tbsp. added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps.

Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).

Make the cherry filling:

Reserve 1/2 cup cherry juice in a bowl and mix in the lemon juice and corn starch. Set aside. Pour the bag of cherries and remaining juice in a pot with the sugar, salt and vanilla. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes while mashing the cherries until you have some larger and smaller pieces. Once the cherries are bubbling, stir in the cornstarch and juice mix and cook for another minute until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool before placing in pie crust.

Make the streusel:

Mix together all dry ingredients and then stir in the melted butter until thick and crumbly.

Assemble and bake:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat and set aside.

Roll out your pie dough on a floured surface to a 12 inch circle. Place the rolled out crust in a 9 inch pie plate, smooth it out to fit and trim and shape the edges as desired.

Fill the crust with the cooled cherry filling and top that with the streusel. Place the pie on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the pie for 20 minutes and then remove it from the oven, cover it with foil and turn the oven down to 375 degrees. Continue to bake the pie for another 30-35 minutes, and remove from oven once crust and streusel are lightly golden.

Let the pie cool completely before cutting into slices and serving.

Note:

The crust recipe makes two crusts, but it freezes great for up to three months so you can keep the other on hand for the next time you need it, or just make a double-crust cherry pie.

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Crust from here.

Filling adapted from here.

 

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Baby Favourites: Six Weeks In

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There are so many items one can be required/tempted to purchase before having a baby but you never really know how well these things work until you put them into action. I thought I’d share what we couldn’t do without so far:

Graco Click Connect Travel System – Aside from our cloth diapers this is probably the product I researched the most and it paid off. We are SO happy with this travel system. The click connect is crazy easy to use. The stroller is large but fast to break down and fits in my trunk well. We’ve taken it walking on all kinds of trails and roads and it rides super smooth. You can get it at Babies R Us but we got ours on sale at Target for $330 CAD when we went on our Minot trip. That’s a $300 savings! Something worth looking into.

Kidiway Leather Glider – So many moms told me to invest in a great rocker and they were right. Both Tommy and I have spent countless hours in this thing since Leo was born. It’s crazy comfortable and I love that it reclines, too. Ours is in our living room so I love that it doesn’t scream “nursery”.

Kushies Waterproof Change Pads – Nothing groundbreaking but these are super handy for a quick change anywhere and the patterns are so cute. We have two and I’d like more.

Onesies with Built-In Mitts – Those newborn mitts were constantly falling off of Leo’s little hands, especially because he always wanted to suck his fingers. Onesies with the mitt flaps were so helpful for those early newborn days to prevent scratches. Old Navy has awesome ones.

Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets – All moms seem to recommend these and I agree. These blankets are thin but cozy and have so many uses.

Fisher Price Soothing Seat – Still where Leo sleeps the most soundly. This seat uses rocking and swaying motions that mimic a parent’s movements. It also has music and vibration options and I love that it plugs into the wall.

Summer Infant Baby Bather – A friend kindly lent this to us and it has made kitchen sink baths a breeze. Leo is really relaxed in it!

Jamieson Baby Probiotic Drops – Our paediatrician recommended these for Leo’s often gassy stomach and he rarely has tummy pains anymore. We’ve noticed a huge difference since starting them when he was two weeks old.

Halo Sleep Sack – Once we got one of these, Leo started sleeping in 4-5 hour stretches overnight from being up every 2 hours. Highly recommend!

What are your favourite baby products?

 

 

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A Month of Motherhood

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Hello from newborn-land! I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last posted here. I’ll start with echoing some often-used phrases about being a mom that I now understand completely. This is by far the most challenging, and at the same time, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Just when I think I can’t get any more exhausted (see photo above), this boy wraps his tiny hand around my finger or starts snoring on my shoulder and my heart feels like it’s going to explode.

Some things we’ve learned about Leo:

He loves to eat. He eats every hour some days and I genuinely fear that I won’t be able to keep up with his demand.

He is a super light sleeper. He needs a lot of encouragement to nap and the right environment or else it doesn’t happen and he becomes desperately overtired. I’ve learned this the hard way.

He loves car rides and being carted around in his stroller. We took our first mini road trip and he did awesome, sleeping almost the entire way, which we were excited about.

He’s got a fiery personality. If he’s hungry, or hot, or needs a nap, he lets you KNOW. He also has the craziest range of facial expressions I’ve ever seen.

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To be completely honest, the first couple of weeks were rough on us. By the time we came home from the hospital we were running on about day five of no sleep. My parents left after our first day home and we were in complete survival mode. I’ll say it now, I have no idea how people do this without a supportive partner. We were as prepared as we could be, and our world was totally rocked by this little guy’s arrival. You always hear about babies not sleeping but living it yourself is a whole other thing. We slept in super short shifts for the first two weeks. I texted a friend about feeling overwhelmed by it all and she had said that becoming a new mother is so much obligation so fast, which resonated with me and made me feel a bit less incompetent. The good news is that I’ve learned to exist on very little sleep and now that it’s my new normal I’m in a much better place.

I had some super emotional moments here and there although I think sleep deprivation was as much to blame as hormones. I was tearing up at everything. One moment I’d be crying with gratitude over how healthy and perfect our baby was and the next it would be guilt over neglecting the dog or nostalgia because I missed quality time with Tommy and just our old life in general. I’m someone who’s never done well without sleep and of course everything felt harder without it.

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Physically I felt great right after giving birth except for my stitches. They took what felt like forever to heal and I feel like I’m finally reaching the home stretch with that. I often felt frustrated at how long this process was taking and Tommy was quick to remind me that he had watched the whole event and that, “it’s not going to heal overnight, trust me”.

Tommy just went back to work last week and I was petrified for him to go. Luckily it hasn’t been half as bad as I’d feared, although we miss him terribly. I’ve found to have a successful day that I need either a nap or a coffee, and fitting in an errand, a walk outside or something else productive is key to my feeling good. If I spend the day cooped up at home I never feel quite as happy so just packing the baby up and going out even when I have no idea what I’m doing has kept me sane.

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I’ve had some worries regarding my capability as a mom. Leo has had a few really awful fussy days with terrible gas pain and I have never felt so helpless in my life, watching my little baby scream in pain, and feeling like nothing I did was helping. “I should be better at this”, I’d think as I tried desperately to console him. I’d wanted to be a mom my whole life. I’m the oldest child, the oldest of all of my cousins, a babysitter as soon as I was old enough, and the “maternal one” in many friend groups throughout my life. But my own baby, the one I grew in my body, was a mystery to me, like a code I had to crack. I’ve really had to learn to read him and not always just knowing instinctively what he needs caught me off guard a bit. I’m trying to manage my expectations, and to give myself some grace in this area.

We’ve been meeting friends and family often and Leo got a new cousin when he was two weeks old, my niece Harper. Now that the babies are here safe and sound there is so much joy in our family. I can’t wait to watch the cousins grow up like best friends.

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I’ve been trying to savour these days as much as I can and I keep reminding myself in the harder moments that the days are long but the years are short. I don’t want to miss a moment with Leo. I totally understand what parents mean when they say that the love hurts. It is intense!

I do have lots to share blog wise and am hoping to get into the groove with that soon. Until then, thanks for reading! I appreciate your support so much.

 

 

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