Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Little Something Sweet…

I cannot tell a lie, I have a BIG sweet-tooth!  And out of this incredibly large sweet-tooth developed my LOVE for baking.  It sort of came about three-fold…1) I needed wanted to satisfy my sweet cravings, 2) I didn’t want to stray from my “clean-eating” lifestyle, and 3) I needed to adapt to gluten-free cooking.  What it really all came down to was this… I wanted to have my cake and eat it too!!
It does takes more time and energy to make my own recipes, but it’s worth it for me and my family.  We live in a society that lives for what is easy and convenient, so we’re reaching for the processed foods that line the grocery store shelves.  Why make it myself, when I can make it from a box? Right?  Unfortunately, these processed foods have lost a significant portion of their nutritional content and are essentially nutritionally devoid.  I suppose I could rant and rave about all the foods that are unhealthy for us, but I think so many other people have already done that for me and I don’t want to bore you any further! 
Here in our home, over the last four years or so, we have replaced “junk” food with such things as fruits, veggies, and whole grains.  Eating “clean” has maximized our intake of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants by incorporating “whole foods” from every food group.  It’s a lifestyle in which we’ve chosen to focus on eating foods that have been minimally processed and are as close to nature as possible.  And the exciting thing for me is that I can easily incorporate it into my baking!!!  It brings me joy that we can “indulge,” if you will, while still eating healthy. 
Vegan Maple Oatmeal Chocolate Nut Clusters
           (Inspired by Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga)
1 cup whole rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut                                                                                    
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)                                                          
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries      
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine all ingredients into mixing bowl and refrigerate for one hour.  Scoop cookie dough by tablespoon ( I used my small ice cream scoop) onto parchment lined or greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Nourishing Thought for Today:

I like to plan…I plan my workouts, I plan our weekly meals, my grocery shopping lists, etc…Anyone who knows me well knows that I like to have “order” in my day!  I had to work hard (and still do) to “customize” a healthy eating plan for myself and my family.   But I also know that if I don’t have a “workout plan” that keeps me in shape spiritually, I will find myself physically and emotionally challenged. 


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