a well balanced cookie

It’s been a while since I’ve made a good, wholesome, nutritious cookie — one that I can feel good about snacking on for a boost of energy first thing in the morning, or as a perfectly sweet treat after dinner.

As a self-professed cookie monster, I’ve embraced the art of “healthy cookie” making so I’d always have something slightly more nutritious than a box of nutter butters when the monster decided to come out. But lately my cookie baking has been less-than-healthy, and I’m longing for those guiltfree goodies of my past….

Some may laugh at cookies for breakfast, but to that I say simply compare the ingredients & nutrition facts to a your typical banana-nut bakery muffin and thennn we’ll see who’s laughing….

These pack serious protein from the egg, protein powder and nuts, a modest amount of healthy fat from almond butter, coconut oil and hazelnuts, slight sweetness from agave nectar, vanilla protein and cherries, and antioxidants from the cocoa nibs.

And in terms of taste, the sweetness contrasts with a peppery kick and tart cherries, nuts and nibs provide bits of crunch, the whole wheat and oats lend a dense and hearty chew, and the gentle scent of vanilla reminds you that you’re nibbling on a delicate little cookie. (For breakfast).

A cookie as balanced in nutrients as it is in texture and flavor. What more could a cookie monster ask for?

Cherry Hazelnut Power Cookies, adapted from the 17-Day Diet Book. Thanks Janet!!

makes ~18 cookies

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 T almond butter
  • 1 T flaxseed or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 egg or 3 ½ T egg whites
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • ½ t almond extract
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ t ground white pepper
  • ½ cup vanilla protein powder (I use tera’s whey bourbon vanilla)
  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs (optional) Continue reading

stuffed swiss chard marinara

Having a food blog and all, I know it’s probably assumed I’m an alright cook. But actually.. I gotta confess…. half [if not more] of my attempts in the kitchen are failures.

My creative energy goes to thinking up delicious flavor combinations and out-of-the-ordinary recipes, but not so much to the skill of making it happen. Why? Because something about me refuses to ever follow a recipe exactly. Ever. Whether I’m completely “healthifying” something, making it gluten-free, vegan, substituting ingredients for whatever I have on hand, or leaving an ingredient out completely, I can’t seem to follow anyone’s rules. I also hate using exact measurements and usually eye-ball it or adjust to taste. …Occasionally this rebelliousness works out GREAT, but most times not so much.

Anyway now that my confession is out of the way, I must share with you one of my latest pleasant surprises, a completely made up and guesstimated recipe (if you can still call it a recipe), for stuffed chard marinara, a la my mother and I. Think stuffed shells with greens acting as your shells. Fortunately it’s the kind of dish that’s totally ok for eye-balling measurements and adjusting ingredients & seasoning to your taste. So go cRaAaaazY and make it your own!

stuffed Swiss chard marinara

serves 4

  • 10 swiss chard leaves, washed + patted dry, stem chopped off
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • veggie sausage (chopped into small bits if not ground-sausage style)
  • couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • white onion, chopped
  • shredded zucchini (optional—had some in the freezer so we threw it in)
  • marinara sauce
  • shredded mozzarella

ricotta mixture:

  • equal parts fat-free and part-skim ricotta (we used maybe 1 cup total?)
  • chopped fresh basil
  • chopped fresh oregano
  • minced fresh garlic or garlic powder
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • squeeze of lemon

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat olive oil in large pan, sauté sausage, peppers and onions until starting to brown. (This is when we added shredded zucchini, but you can simply leave that out!)

Meanwhile, combine ricotta, fresh basil + oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon in a bowl and set aside.  Spread a thin coat of marinara sauce onto a rectangular baking dish.  When sausage mixture is browned, spoon a dollop onto the end of a chard leaf, followed by a dollop of ricotta mixture. Fold in the ends of the leaf and roll up burrito-style.

Line each rolled leaf, seam-side down, on top of marinara in the baking dish in a single layer so you have 2 rows of 5 roll-ups.  Evenly spoon marinara on top, followed by a sprinkling (or a dumping—your call) of shredded mozzarella. Bake until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are heated through, 20-30 minutes. Allow your delicious dinner to cool for 5 minutes before serving!

yummmmmmmm. Enjoy!



This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays