Peppermint Choco Chip Sugar Cookies

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Have you heard of a white elephant? Not those giant animals with large trunks that goes around spurting water and happens to be painted white. I’m talking about that silly game that is played at office parties or family outings where you buy a gift and there is a lottery-esque type scenario where people switch gifts and fight over the lame $20 present that you picked out of the sale pin a target. It’s awesome.

I have a few this year – cant. wait. I may or may not have slyly purchased a gift that I wanted for each of these white elephant extravaganzas and am keeping my fingers crossed that I can somehow steal my own gift back.

hot cocoa and a mint

hot cocoa and a mint

Writing that out made me sound very un-christmaslike…shucks.

In preparation for these holiday parties, I made some equally cheesy holiday cookies. Don’t worry, there is no cheese in these cookies. There is chocolate. And mint. And sugar. And candy canes. And chocolate. So good.

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Peppermint Choco Chip Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup chopped andes mint pieces
  • 4 crushed candy canes
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl

2. In a separate, larger bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed just until smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, then stir in the flour mixture followed by the chocolate, andes mints, and candy cane bits.

4. Place dough in the refrigerator for an hour.

5. Preheat oven to 350 and line  2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (I use silpats).

6. Use an icecream scooper to get the cookies to about the same size.

7. Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking (I switched them at around 8 minutes when I started to smell the cookies baking). Bake for a total of 15-20 minutes – until you see the edges starting to get brown.

8. Take out of oven and let cool before moving to a container and eating. wholeheartedly happily.

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Paleo Butternut Squash Pie

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Everyone has heard of pumpkin pie. Once fall hits it’s pumpkin this and pumpkin that. Call it blasphemy but I’m not the biggest fan of those pumpkin lattes. I cannot figure out what the big deal is! I am, however, a big time fan of Pumpkin Pie itself. Something about the combination of pumpkin, and that crumbly crust just does it for me :)

This year, I decided to change it up a bit and venture out on some uncharted territory…to the world of butternut squash. Treacherous – I know.

My company decided to do a Healthy Squash Recipe Competition the other week, and I, as per usual, haphazardly signed up to do a squash dessert. No problem right?!

Wrong.

Trying to find a paleo / gluten-free / sugar-free type of dessert with squash as the main ingredient was like trying to find an unopened bottle of red wine in my apartment – very rare and unlikely to exist ;)

I finally came across this recipe and with a few little tweaks made it my own and developed a seriously delicious butternut squash paleo pie!!

crust

Butternut Squash Paleo Pie

squash

Crust

  •  2 cups of blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil, unsalted butter, or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

Pie Filling

  • 1 3/4 cups (or about 15 ounces) of roasted butternut squash **the first pie I made I roasted my own butternut squash and put it in the food processor. The second pie I used canned butternut squash. In my humble opinion, the first one turned out much better and had a much better color as well – the second one looked a little green!**
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, cloves, allspice

ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Put dry crust ingredients in food processor and pulse it briefly
  3. Add crust remaining ingredients into food processor and pulse so that you have small grains of dough that stick together
  4. Press the crust into your pie dish. Cover with aluminum foil and pie weights or rice to prevent the crust from bubbling while it browns.
  5. Bake the pie crust for 5-10 minutes, or until it is slightly browned.
  6. Cool the crust for a 10 minutes and then place in the freezer for about 15 minutes
  7. In a separate bowl, combine all the pie filling ingredients and whisk to blend well
  8. Take pie crust out of freezer and fill with pie filling ingredients
  9. Bake the pie for about 35 minutes, or until the outer edges of the pie filling are firm. A deeper pan will take longer to bake (closer to 45 minutes)
  10. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing

This pie can be made up to 3 days in advance and will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Fresh Basil = Fresh Home = Fresh You

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I picked up some fresh basil at Whole Foods tonight on a whim. Not only is it going to be the single shining taste of my dinner (a revised version of this zucchini lasagna) but it has made my apartment smell impossibly fresh. Like I’m sitting in a garden. In the middle of a metropolis.

So lovely.

IMG_0579Not to mention – basil has a bunch of health boosting properties! It’s natural oils help battle the bacteria that can cause acne. It has phytochemicals which lower cortisol – resulting in lower stress levels. It’s chock full of iron and help detoxify the liver, replenishing and cleansing your system from the inside out.

Let’s see how long I can keep the rest of the basil before it dies. I don’t have much luck with plants so…the bar is not set very high.

What are some of your favorite recipes to make with fresh basil?? I made this one strawberry dessert once – it was so unique and so good!

Light the Halls

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Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores
Welcome Christmas Come this way…

It is officially christmas season!! I know I posted a holiday gift guide the other day but I have to confess that I wasn’t officially in the Christmas Spirit yet…it hit me last night while attending an event at Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia.

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Longwood Gardens does a Longwood Christmas event where they cover the acres and acres of gardens in lights. 550,000 lights to be exact. It’s beautiful and magical and all those things that you hope Christmas is from the trees garnished in fruit to the outdoor train tracks, and pointsetta garden. I would like to have one in my yard. Just saying :)

Loved this crystal covered chandelier

Loved this crystal covered chandelier

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That design is made entirely of apples floating in a pond

That design is made entirely of apples floating in a pond

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Bonsai trees!

Bonsai trees!

LW8 LW9Merry [early] Christmas!

What do you do to get into the holiday spirit??

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