Low Carb Strawberry Poke Cake

 

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Wow, where did January go?! Here we are pushing towards the middle of February already! I can honestly tell you, January was a busy month. So many memories made with family and friends, no wonder once February came I felt I needed a break.

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In the form of baking, of course. Although, curling up to this guy is a favorite too!

We should never deny our loves in life, no matter how big or small they may be. Time spent baking really fills my soul, I truly hope something in your life does the same.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I’d share a new favorite! I personally feel every day is a day to celebrate love, life and the people who matter the most, but it is a nice occasion to bake something special.

I stumbled upon Low Carb Strawberry Poke Cake on one of my favorite low carb blogs, All Day I Dream About Food. I have made so many of the recipes on this amazing blog, and they are always fantastic. I hope you enjoy!

This recipe was slightly adapted from All Day I Dream About Food. 

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Low Carb Strawberry Poke Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup swerve sweetener
  • 1/3 cup vanilla quest protein powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup half and half

Strawberry Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tbsp powdered swerve sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Topping

  • 1- 8 oz container cool whip

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9X9 baking pan well. In a large bowl whisk together the almond flour, swerve sweetener, quest protein powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract and half and half, until well combined. Spread batter in prepared baking pan, baking 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown and top is firm to the touch. Remove and let cool, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke large holes all over the cake.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine strawberries and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until berries are very soft. Puree in a blender or with a hand blender, then stir in sweetener. Sprinkle surface with xanthan gum and whisk vigorously to combine. Let cool until somewhat thickened.
Pour filling over cake and tap the baking pan gently on the counter to help it fill the holes. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Top with cool whip and additional strawberries if desired.

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This cake is moist, sweet and just so darn delicious. An easy dessert to make that will captivate your palate.

Happy Friday to you all! May your weekend be full of adventure, relaxation and happiness!

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It’s Low Carb Pumpkin Muffin Time

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Happy Friday all! It almost seems impossible that tomorrow is the last day of 2016, how did this happen? Wasn’t it just New Years Eve 2015? Weren’t we all putting on our party hats, drinking champagne and watching the ball drop?!

No Melissa, that was a whole year ago and what a year it has been! {Disclaimer: I didn’t actually make it to watch the ball drop last year, but I hope you did!} I also hope you all had the best year with your families, your personal lives, your professional lives, your health, your dreams, etc. All of it. If you in fact had a rough year, I am sending much positive energy your way for a great start to 2017!

I know how I am going to start 2017- by devoting more time to something I love doing. This blog. Making new recipes. Taking pictures. Being a foodie. Loving every second of it.

What better way to end my sporadic year of posts, than to share a recipe that I will be making weekly from here on out. I hope you decide to do the same. Your hearts and bellies will thank me!

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Low Carb Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup swerve sweetener {or equivalent sweetener of choice}
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup palm shortening
  • 1/3 cup swerve sweetener
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Directions

In a blender or food processor (can also use your magic bullet type blenders ;-)), combine eggs, pumpkin, and sweetener.                                                                                                           Then add in coconut flour, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
Divide batter between 8 paper lined muffin cups
Rinse out blender or food processor to make streusel topping
In the same blender or food processor, combine shortening and sweetener
Pulse in coconut flour and cinnamon
Sprinkle topping over muffin batter
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
Cool 1 hour

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Muffins can be kept in the refrigerator in ziplock bags or closed containers for 5-7 days.  Can also be frozen.

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A wonderful, healthy treat for breakfast or for a midday snack.

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Happiest of New Years to you all! Enjoy your weekend and let’s crush some goals in 2017!!

Low Carb Italian Cookies

Can you believe that Christmas is really over?!

It just seems like yesterday that the season started and we pulled all our normal decor off the shelves and Christmas came exploding into our homes. What a wonderful season to be celebrated and I hope it was just as fabulous as you all imagined!

When the holidays come, what better way to indulge in the most wonderful time of year, than to bake our little hearts out! I love baking all year round, but there is something so amazing about making treats for all of your loved ones to enjoy on Christmas! This year, I sang Christmas carols and really enjoyed the whole process of making Christmas cookies.

I’ve decided, without a doubt, next year I will be hosting a christmas cookie exchange party, so my people better be ready! They do have a whole year now to prepare 😉

One of my favorite cookies from this year, is by far this Low Carb Italian Cookie. It is moist, buttery and I bet you won’t be able to stop at just one!

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Low Carb Italian Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener {or equivalent sweetener of choice}
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup swerve confectioners sweetener
  • 2 tbsp half and half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkles

Directions

Cookies:
Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with the Swerve until well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Then beat in the almond flour mixture until the dough comes together.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. You will get 24 to 28 balls. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand to about ½ inch thick.
Bake about 12 minutes, until just barely beginning to firm up. Remove and let cool on the pan.
Glaze:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the Swerve, half and half, and vanilla extract. Dip the top of the cookies into the glaze and set back on the pan. Sprinkle as desired.

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Seriously, make these.

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I really wish Christmas lasted a little longer, but it unfortunately goes by so quickly! That doesn’t mean we can’t make these all year long, just change your sprinkles!

In my opinion, there are never too many sprinkles in life!

Carrot Cake Loaf

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Since finding out about my own personal struggle with insulin resistance and PCOS, I am on a mission to get my body where it needs to be. Weight loss is never an easy journey, pair that with crazy hormones, it’s been quite a ride.

I am working so hard at breaking this vicious cycle for myself, but in doing so, I can’t and will not give up my love for cooking and baking. Because none of us need to do that!

I have had so much fun in the kitchen, trying new recipes and making our old favorite recipes more low carb friendly for us, and ultimately for you!

I do not believe my joy for food will ever go away, because I can talk, read, write, browse, eat…. all day long. I have made a choice to put the right foods in my body, to make it work the best it can. I have also made a choice to indulge in healthy treats from time to time, that don’t derail me from my goals.

Life is definitely all about moderation, and if you can make your treats healthy for you, you aren’t cheating. You are living!

There are some things you can say that life is not worth living without, if I was dramatic I would say this Carrot Cake Loaf! I personally feel happier knowing I have found a slightly sweet bread that I can put together really fast, that gives me a tasty snack with delicious carrot cake flavor! Carrot cake is one of my favorites, and this did not disappoint! I hope you try it!

Carrot Cake Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup carrots, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup swerve sweetener {or 1/2 cup sugar, honey, etc}
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. {almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon}

In a mixing bowl, add eggs and swerve sweetener. Mix to combine, then adding coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in mixing bowl and combine.

Then add grated carrot to batter.

Grease a bread/loaf pan with nonstick spray {butter or coconut oil} and pour batter into pan, spreading evenly.

Place in oven and bake for 30-32 minutes until top is browned and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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Then it’s time to slice it up and serve!

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It is moist, delicious and just subtly sweet- making it the perfect bread to eat as is, put a little butter on it, or make it into french toast! I think next time, I’ll even drizzle a little cream cheese frosting over it!

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Happy eating!!

Do you have a favorite loaf or bread recipe?

Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

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Oh sweet tooth, you are at it again.

Forcing me to research, brainstorm and create a recipe just so you can enjoy one of life’s greatest creations….brownies.

Rich chocolate, fudgey, mouth watering brownies….that don’t cause your body to jump into sugar shock only to retreat into a carb induced coma.

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One of my greatest joys with experimenting in the kitchen, is when my chef husband loves what I’ve made. While he isn’t a tough critic in the sense that he is a food snob, his opinion and years of experience mean something to me. Ratings of 10/10 in anything I make, seriously make me feel proud of what I’m doing.

I think the best creations in the kitchen come from your heart. When you are passionate about what you are doing, it is always going to be a success. The recipe itself may take some tweaking but what is a passion without trying for your own standard of perfection.

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With that being said, this is not suppose to be comparable to a real brownie made out of sugar and flour (which are delicious, I might add). This is something different, and to me….better. I have no guilt eating this as a treat. I don’t think you will either. Its rich, dense and full of chocolate flavor.

Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Makes 16 Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips {can use sugar free chocolate}
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener {or 1/2 cup coconut sugar, honey, agave, sugar}
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium microwave safe bowl, add coconut oil (or butter), dark chocolate, and peanut butter. Microwave for 2 minutes until mixture is melted and smooth. Put aside.

In another bowl add eggs, swerve sweetener (or sweetener of choice) and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add coconut flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt.

When fully combined, add in peanut butter chocolate mixture.

Spray a 8X8 pan with nonstick spray or use parchment paper for easy clean up.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out batter. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until set and inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool.

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Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!

Happy Eating!

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Cajun Chicken & Cheddar Zucchini Skillet

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There are so many resources out there to inspire delicious, homemade meals. Between the internet, social media, magazines and cookbooks, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to make all the things I want to. But man, I am going to try 🙂

I can spend hours just looking at recipes and often get sucked in when I should be doing something that really needs my attention, like laundry. Life is short though, and laundry happens every day. So what if we don’t have socks, isn’t that why they made sandals? I believe so!

While cruising along Pinterest one night, I stumbled across this recipe for White Cheddar Chicken and Zucchini, and immediately I knew I had to make it. Like all other recipes I find, I needed to make it and in doing so, make it my own. Hands down, I give all recognition for the inspiration of this dish to the original blogger, but I made some changes to better suit our tastes and current eating habits.

Which means, I added some spice, garlic and the almighty food that makes every recipe better- BACON! I also omitted the panko bread crumbs due to our low carb lifestyle.

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This dish has so much flavor, and is easy to make! I hope you try it!

Cajun Chicken & Cheddar Zucchini Skillet

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 1-2 tbsp of Cajun seasoning {depending on taste}
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1  tsp black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced into rounds
  • 4 oz of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices of cooked bacon, diced

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare zucchini and onions but cutting them first.

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In a bowl, season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Add Cajun seasoning to your liking, between 1-2 tablespoons.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.

Saute chicken on each side for 4-5 minutes until browned. Remove from skillet and place in a separate dish.

To the same skillet, add diced onions and sauté for 2 minutes until starting to soften. Add minced garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Then add zucchini and yellow squash to skillet, season with remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder. Combine zucchini and onions well. Place chicken on top of the zucchini and squash and place into the oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is tender. Then top with shredded cheddar and bacon. Place back into the oven and broil on high until cheese is melted and bubbling.

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This is a meal full of amazing flavors and I highly recommend you try it!

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There is something spectacular to be said about dinners made entirely in one pan because who likes to wash dishes after dinner?! Nobody.

Happy Eating!!

Menu Plan Monday #2

Happy Monday!!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! My weekend was spent working, but it was a good one and it passed by in a flash! Despite some long days, we still were able to enjoy a little excitement at a family party, and it’s just another reminder as to how grateful I am for this season in life.

I don’t know if it is my age, or where I  currently am in life, but I just find such joy in little simple things. Friday morning I looked out the window and saw a sunbeam shining through my favorite willow tree. It made my heart so happy! I just had to take a picture!

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I’m also grateful that we are surrounded by such beautiful people who we love dearly, like these two! My momma and nephew ::swoon::

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I hope you feel the same, and if for some reason you don’t- always remember you can make changes, and find the ones who are meant to be in your lives!

With that said, I hope you also were able to enjoy some good eats last week! Our week was busy, so quick meals were on the menu.

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**Menu Plan Monday was inspired by my constant need to know what everyone is eating. Whether it be the blogs I love reading, or the people in my real life who I enjoy thoroughly.  I try to make two new recipes a week while rotating the other days with our favorite go to meals, one leftover day and one free for all day. Free for all days could mean leftovers, a quick easy meal, or just eating whatever we fancy (breakfast foods always win for me). Here’s a look at last week….

Monday

Who doesn’t enjoy an easy meal that comes together with loads of flavor? For some reason, I had been craving Beef Stroganoff in a bad way, so we made it happen! Served over  this low carb pasta that I have been enjoying from time to time, so I don’t detour from my own personal goals.

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Tuesday

Late work day, so leftovers of meal mentioned above were consumed

Wednesday

New recipe of the week, Bacon Ranch Chicken – we enjoyed this as a quick easy meal.

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Thursday

Creamy Salsa Chicken – I made mine into a very ugly “bowl” but hey, this is real life, right? We also never eat corn but had leftovers so it’s what got thrown in! No waste household over here 🙂

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Friday

Free for All- the mister had leftover Creamy Salsa Chicken and I had a Low Carb Cheese Quesadilla for a quick treat after work

Saturday

Family party

Sunday

Summer comfort right here. Hotdogs, and low carb onion rings made by my mister. He does love me, haha. I sent him this recipe, and he made it happen! They were tasty!

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Life is all about moderation and sometimes I do plan easy meals that we can just throw together in minutes, because it’s better than going out to eat when you are busy! Meal planning allows me to always figure out what is best for us, for a particular week.

I’m thinking this next week needs to include a better variety of vegetables, and I have it all planned out! Until next week..

Happy Eating!

Low Carb Magic Bars

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Is there anything you distinctly remember about your childhood? Something that when one of your senses is heightened, it brings back instant nostalgia? I have many and I am so grateful that our brains do the involuntary magic that they do.

While a lot of my memories are of things we did, places we went and who we enjoyed these moments with, it is no surprise that some of them completely involve food. Because food = life, right?

My mom always use to make seven layer bars when we were growing up. Ooey, gooey, chocolate, coconut filled mounds of delicious joy. It’s been so long since I’ve had one, but I still recall the kitchen I grew up with, the counter where all the treats sat and the warmth my mom always provided us with. Whether it be her love, her cooking, or her thoughtfulness, she has always been the best mom. We are very grateful for her and her seven layer bars.

For they inspired these….

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I am a firm believer in ending the day with a little something sweet and with changes to my diet over the past few years, I have loved experimenting with new sweet treats that everyone can enjoy!

Low Carb Magic Bars

Makes 16 servings

Ingredients

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener
  • 1/4 coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Magic Bars

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour (measured to 66 grams), sifted
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp of swerve sweetener
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped

Directions

To make the caramel sauce, place coconut milk, swerve sweetener, coconut sugar and salt into a sauce pan. Heat slowly and bring to a simmer on medium low heat. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the caramel is a nice golden color and has started to thicken. The sauce will thicken more as you remove it from heat and allow to cool. Add vanilla extract when you have removed pan from heat. (I doubled the caramel sauce recipe and saved half in the refrigerator for future use, which meant another batch, haha)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, add the coconut oil and 3 tbsp of swerve sweetener and mix well. Add the sifted coconut flour and mix until fully combined. You will have a wet dough.

Take an 8X8 baking dish (or comparable dish) and line with parchment paper for nonstick and easy clean up. Pour dough into dish and press evenly throughout. It will be a thin crust, but don’t worry.

Place into oven and bake for 7-8 minutes until the edges are starting to get golden brown. The dough will still be somewhat soft.

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Next, you will place the almonds and pecans on top of crust. Press down softly so that the nuts are slight pushed into the crust. Add the chocolate chips evenly, then the coconut flakes.

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Last, pour the caramel sauce over all the delicious ingredients. Gently shake the pan so that the caramel sauce can sink between the layers.

Place into oven and bake for 27-28 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Place the bars into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

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When ready, cut into bars and enjoy!

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The first time I made these, I brought them to a family birthday party and they were a hit!

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Just look at the layers of delicious goodness.

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Try to stop at just one, because it’s not possible.

Happy Eating!

Menu Plan Monday

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If there is one thing I love reading in the blogs I enjoy, it’s their weekly meal plans. Call me a creeper for finding pleasure in knowing what others are eating, but I just do! I often find myself asking everyone I care about this very important question, “What’s for dinner?”

I know that one of the ways I show my husband that I care for him, as well as everyone I care for, is by cooking them good food that entices their palettes! Part of me needs to know that they are feeding their bodies with delicious food and the other part is just plain nosey! I admit it. I won’t stop though.

So to jump on a bandwagon that was started a long time ago, I’m excited to share what we eat during the week!

I have been meal planning for four years now and I rotate depending on my mood, between planning for 2 weeks or 4 weeks at a time. I know that four weeks seems like a lot, but it works for me. It does not make me the meal planning goddess (although I wouldn’t mind a crack at the title!) I just enjoy planning out the month between work schedules, parties, holidays, date nights, etc. It’s something that makes me happy, and we all should stick to doing just that, making ourselves happy!

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I have tried to make two new recipes a week while rotating the other days with our favorite go to meals, one leftover day and one free for all day. Free for all days could mean leftovers, a quick easy meal, or just eating whatever we fancy (breakfast foods always win for me).

Now that I’ve taken entirely too much of your time, I’ll just get to the good stuff. This is a recap of our meals last week. Typically, we have a more diverse selection of protein but I was trying to use what I had in the freezer and refridgerator so chicken is what we had!

Meal Plan Monday #1

Monday- Cheesy Honey Mustard Chicken with Bacon & Salad

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Tuesday- Leftovers

Wednesday- Chicken & Vegetable Stir-fry

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Thursday- Roasted Chicken Thighs with Vegetables and Parmesan Garlic Cream Sauce

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Friday- Date Night after work

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Texas Roadhouse was the answer to a few individuals that had no desire to cook after the work week was done! This is my favorite salad of theirs, Chicken Critter Salad. I eat half & save half for another meal, like Saturday free for all night! It’s a cheat meal that I’m not afraid of eating, if that makes sense.

Saturday- Free for All Night

Sunday- Grilled Chicken, Corn on the Cob & Salad

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The mister will only eat corn on the cob with these little trays and holders. I don’t buy corn often as our vegetable side, but it screams summer!

Until next time, when hopefully I’ve added some beef, fish or pork into the mix!

Happy Eating all!

Low Carb Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

 

How is it July already?! The time is sure flying and we are embracing our summer as much as we can! I hope you are too!

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There have been holidays, weekend projects, parties, concerts and lots of fun filling these days. It is no wonder that I haven’t taken the time to share a new and delicious dessert for you all to try! You will have to wait no longer, well maybe a little….

I hope you all were able to enjoy the 4th of July with the ones you love, doing something that made your heart happy. That is what life is about. Living it to the fullest every day you can and embracing as many moments possible.

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I was blessed with a lovely five day weekend over the 4th and I cannot put into words how wonderful it was! It was full of family, friends, good food, laughter and another home project to put down in the books. We redid our front porch! It still needs railings put on, but that will hopefully happen this weekend! I am loving it so far!

I will not hold you in suspense any longer! Here is what I’d describe as delicious, soft, pillows of chocolate chip cookie that will leave you asking for just one more. They are easy to make and worth every minute of the small effort. Happy baking!

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Low Carb Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients

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  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 3 oz of dark chocolate, cut into pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl or stand up mixer, combine eggs, sweetener, and vanilla. Then add coconut oil.

 

Add the peanut butter to the wet ingredients and combine.

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In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients- almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Combine well, breaking up any big lumps from the almond flour.

Next add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, mixing on medium speed until combined.

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Then add your dark chocolate.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (for non stick and easy clean up)

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Using a spoon or a cookie scooper, make 18 cookies and place spread out evenly on baking sheet.

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Bake in oven for 15-17 minutes until edges golden brown.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes.

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Then enjoy!

 

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Just the right amount of sweet chocolate, coconut and peanut butter. My favorite flavors married together to make the perfect cookie, with no guilt. If that isn’t winning, I don’t know what is.

Until next time! Happy eating!