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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Hearty Banana Oat Muffins

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The very first thing I baked after my first trimester kitchen hiatus was banana muffins. Looking back on it, I still can’t believe how long I went without cooking a single thing. It was insane. In addition to my exhaustion, cooking smells were my worst enemy and this meant I stayed out of the kitchen for a good, long while. If you know me, this is unheard of. Finally, one Saturday morning several weeks back, I woke up and I actually felt decent. I was starving and nothing but banana muffins would do, and even better, I actually felt like baking them myself. But there was one catch.

My absolute favourite banana bread recipe has cream cheese, which we didn’t have on hand. Oh, and I really didn’t feel like using my mixer either. I wanted a one-bowl deal. I did a quick Google search and landed on this recipe. It was super fast to whip up and it totally hit the spot. I started making a batch every week or so but in the New Year I decided maybe it was time to find a healthier alternative. I tinkered with the original quite a bit and these came out even better than I had dreamed, on the first try. No butter, no refined sugar and no gluten if you use gluten-free oats. They are filling and perfectly sweet, although I love them spread with a little strawberry jam. Even if you’re on a resolution diet of some kind, these will probably still be allowed for a guilt-free treat. My biggest problem these days is always having enough ripe bananas on hand!

Hearty Banana Oat Muffins

Makes 12 standard muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups oat flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup standard muffin tin with liners.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Melt your coconut oil and add it to the mashed banana mixture. Stir in baking soda, salt, coconut sugar, egg and vanilla. Once this is combined, stir in the oat flour and cinnamon.

Scoop into lined muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Notes:

I measured my coconut oil in solid form before melting it.

I made my own oat flour by pulsing 1 1/2 cups rolled oats in my food processor.

I buy my coconut sugar at Bulk Barn.

 

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Regina Eats: Gluten-Free

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After completing my Whole30 and realizing that overindulging in gluten makes me feel less than stellar, I started looking for gluten-free options as often as I could. I still eat gluten occasionally but it is definitely a treat for me these days rather than a staple. After uncovering several gems I thought I would share what I’ve tried and liked so far:

Lancaster’s menu is clearly marked with gluten-free options, which I appreciate. My favorite entrée there is the Satsuma Chicken. Get the Potato Chips with Garlic Aioli to start. You’ll thank me later.

I’ve tried several gluten-free pizza crusts and Boston Pizza’s is the winner so far.

Brewed Awakening has salads, crustless quiches, fresh rolls and desserts that are wheat-free. The wheat-free carrot cake is phenomenal.

Kneaded is a completely gluten-free bakery here in the city. Their desserts are out of this world good.

I tried Serendipity a few weeks ago and had the most phenomenal BBQ Bacon Grilled Cheese sandwich. I also sampled the peanut butter cheesecake which was massive and loaded with peanut butter cups. Her menu changes weekly and I’ve found everything to be very reasonably priced, especially for gluten-free food.

Sprout Catering has a regular menu with gluten-free options as well as a “Gluten-Free Fridays” lunch feature. The food there is always fresh and healthy.

Did you know you can get your Five Guys burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf? It’s surprisingly satisfying. Oh, and don’t forget the fries!

Rock Creek has several great gluten-free mains. I’ve tried and liked the Albuquerque Chicken and the Southwest Caesar Salad.

Note: If you are celiac, there may be cross contamination at some of these places.

Your favorite gluten-free meal in the city? Tell me!

 

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Cheesy One-Pot Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole

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EASIEST DINNER EVER.

Last Saturday was one of those days when the second your feet hit the floor you are on the move. We ran a bunch of errands and moved some of Tom’s stuff into a storage space which made for a long and tiring day. I actually had a late afternoon nap when we were done. For me, this is huge. I believe that napping is a skill, and I do not excel at it.

When I woke up starving at supper time, I debated briefly about what we would have before deciding to cook up some rice to eat with the leftover chicken in the fridge. Then, I decided we needed broccoli too and before I knew it I was throwing everything in the pot, putting on the lid and hoping for the best. Twenty minutes later, Tom awoke from his nap and called to me from the bedroom, “Whatever you are cooking smells amazing!”. I couldn’t believe how perfectly this worked out. It kind of reminded me of Broccoli Cheddar Sidekicks, in a good way!

I have a one-pot pasta recipe on here that I love, but now that I am avoiding gluten whenever possible rice is the perfect substitute. Even when I was typing out the recipe, I couldn’t believe how simple it was to throw together. Winter night comfort food at its finest!

Cheesy One-Pot Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole

Serves 4 generously

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 small cooked chicken breasts, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions:

In a large pot, bring the stock, cream, broccoli, diced chicken, garlic and seasoning to a boil. Stir in the rice and cover with a lid. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid. If you have any excess liquid, simmer for a few more minutes on low heat, uncovered. Once the rice is perfectly cooked and most of the excess liquid is absorbed, stir in the cheese until melted. Taste and add salt if desired. Serve!

Notes:

I imagine fresh broccoli would work too, you may just end up with a bit less liquid.

I used cream because I had some leftover to use up but I suspect milk would work just fine also, and would make the dish a little lighter.

The rice I used had a stovetop cooking time of 20 minutes. I would not recommend Minute rice for this recipe.

If you don’t have any cooked chicken handy, just chop up some raw chicken and sauté it in your soup pot before adding everything else! You could also eliminate the chicken for an awesome side dish.

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Pumpkin Crumble Muffins (Gluten & Dairy Free!)

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I wish I could tell you that I was sorry to be sharing my third pumpkin recipe in a month but the truth is, I have no plans to quit. Every time I think I’m over it I see one more pumpkin-y thing to add to my list, the latest being this pumpkin bread. I was sold by the photos but when I saw it was gluten free? Winner!

This bread is so moist and lightly spiced and it’s incredibly quick to throw together. I made mine into muffins for portability and I added a crumble topping for fun but I do think these would be great without it too.

A perfect weekend baking project!

Pumpkin Crumble Muffins (Gluten & Dairy Free!)

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Muffins:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Crumble Topping:

  • ¼ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Pinch salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line standard muffin tin with 12 liners.

Combine the pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the sugar and mix well.

Mix the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.

Stir together the crumble ingredients and set aside. Pour batter in the prepared muffin tin and sprinkle topping evenly on top of the muffins.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Notes:

I used this gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.

Originally I had doubled the crumble topping but found it was way too much and most of it didn’t stay on the muffins. 

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