Spicy Pumpkin Cookies

Under the light of awareness, the energy of irritation can be transformed into an energy which nourishes.
— Thich Nhat Hahn
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One of the greatest jokes ever played on me was fall in the south. We’re almost halfway through September, and it’s still 90˚. No, not a heat wave, not a nice toasty day to finish off summer – this is just how it will be for at least another month and a half …

But hey, this girl won’t be complaining any longer! Even though it’s hot AF outside, I can’t break out my absurd sweater collection just yet, and a hot cup of tea makes me sweat, at least I’m still working out in leggings + a sports bra, and can bake all of the fall things in my house! No one will stop me!

If you’re new to these little rants, then you must know I love every season. There’s something spectacular about each one, something that just makes me feel so fresh and renewed! But, if I had to pick a favorite child, fall will win every time. The best flavors, the best smells, the best crunchy leaves, the best wardrobe, the best movies, the best baked goods. Must I go on? Don’t get me wrong, give me a bikini and throw me on the beach, I’ll be annoyingly happy. Put on Elf and place a cup of cocoa with mallows in my hand, I’m a giddy child. Throw me into a field of wildflowers in the rain, this spring baby is OH so happy. BUT.The moment I see some leaves changing colors, smell cider on the stove, see the word September, I look and act literally like a gal whose crush just smiled at her.

Yep. That’s it. I’m hardcore crushin’ on autumn, it’s just the best love story of all time. Hell, I mean even my wedding anniversary is at the end of September!

Now that we’re on the same page, lets talk cookies. I’m pretty sure that I have more cookie recipes on this blog than anything else—they’re just so damn versatile and I also fckin love cookie dough, so why wouldn’t I be making them all of the time?

My goal for these cookies was to figure out how to add about as little sugar as possible, how to make them super moist while not loading these up with lots of butter, and to shove as many spices as possible into these lil babies!

Annndddd, I’m pretty sure I’ve accomplished all of it.

Even though there’s only a fraction of the amount of butter in these than my usual chocolate chip cookies and the rest was replaced with pumpkin purée, you honestly cannot tell the difference. I added the smallest amount of coconut sugar as I could, only ¼ cup, which definitely goes a long way. I wanted the true pumpkin flavor to come out, as well as ALL of the spices I threw in here—turmeric and black pepper being the most pleasant surprise of them all!

Ohhhh these are so good, and make the entire house smell like an autumn dream. AUTUMN. DREAM. Yeah, tell me how you’re going to turn that down!?

Okay, I’m done. Go do your thing in the kitchen, fall it up in there, I mean have I ever led you wrong here?!

 

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ingredients

Pumpkin Purée—9 oz, or 1 cup

Butter—2.5 oz, or 5 TBL

Coconut Sugar—1.15 oz, or ¼ cup

Vanilla Extract—2 tsp

Eggs—2

Almond Flour—3.5 oz, or 1 cup

All Purpose Flour—8.5 oz, or 1 ½ cup

Oats—3.5 oz, or 1 cup

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—¾ tsp

Maca Powder—1 tsp

Cinnamon—1 TBL

Nutmeg—1 tsp

Ginger—1 tsp

Black Pepper—½ tsp

Turmeric—½ tsp

Chocolate Chips—6 oz, or 1 cup

Coconut Flakes, unsweetened—1.25 oz, or ½ cup

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the purée, butter and coconut sugar until smooth.

Add in vanilla, mix.

Add in eggs, 1 at a time, mix.

At this point, your dough will be veryrunny, do not worry!

Add together the flours, oats, baking soda, salt and spices in a separate bowl. Mix with your hands to combine.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

Cover and refrigerate your dough for at least a few hours, so the dough can stiffen up a bit – as you will notice that it is quite a soft cookie dough!

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Roll your cookies into 2 oz balls, or a heaping tablespoon, and bake for 12 minutes, rotating, 4 minutes.

Allow to cool on a rack slightly, so you won’t burn your tongue like I did!

 

Bon Appétit!

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Coconut Chocolate Tart

When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible
— Brené Brown
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I believe I say this with each recipe, but dang, this gf/df coconut chocolate tart is making mama proud this week!

As I (think?) mentioned, your girl has joined the dairy free club! I always insisted that I just ate too much whenever I was getting sick from ice cream, pizza,  lattes ... but guess what? I stopped consuming dairy and BOOM! my stomach issues are almost nonexistent!

I'm sure that story was so whatever to y'all, but sometimes I just need a disclaimer, okay?!

I'm currently transitioning my life to a place that I want, not what annnyyyyone else wants, and it feels SO damn good. See that quote up at the top? Yeah, we're all worthy of every single happiness and we need to stop tricking our minds to think otherwise. It breaks my heart that I was really self-sabotaging, I was telling myself I had to do x, try y, be z all for every. one. else. Then these past few months I said screw that, get your booty back into school because you want to, make a decision for your career that's going to make you happy, join that kickboxing gym you've had your eye on for months because it'll make you feel like a badass (and hopefully become one soon enough!). I was tired of letting my anxiety control my life - no one's letting that happen but me!

Et voilá! My (soon to be) M.S. in Nutrition + my degree in baking + my LOVE for sugar has all brought me here. All brought y'all this recipe! I'm honestly so in love. Like a few notches below my love for my pup and husband (...yes, you see who I put first there, oops!). First off, we all love a good graham cracker crust. This one happens to have some coconut sugar, maca powder (hellloooo salted caramel taste and energy boost) and it's all combined with coconut oil! How could it not be a winner? And what else - uhh how about a layer of toasted coconut then topped with a dairy free chocolate filling. AH I need a slice right now, please. The filling is so dang simple: coconut milk + 70-80% dark chocolate + coconut oil. Add some coarse salt after it has set and THERE YOU HAVE IT! Something so beautiful.

With the help of my amazing husband, who tried everything I asked/begged him to, the perfect gluten free/dairy free coconut chocolate tart was born! Ohhhh and is it a beauty. It is just one of those desserts that I know will become a staple because 1. it's quick, 2. minimal and clean ingredients, 3. it will satisfy all of those dietary restrictions, and 4. IT'S SO FREAKING GOOD! I'm not kidding. I mean I just screamed that at you, didn't I?!

Decided to go light on the rambling today because, I mean, you need to just get to the photos, to the recipe, get yourself a bit covered in coconut and chocolate, and have yourself a sweet evening! You can thank me in about 4 hours when the tart is finished and you're on your third piece ;)

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crust ingredients

Graham Cracker Crumbs—5.5 oz, or 1 ½ C

Coconut Sugar—1.75 oz, or 1/3 C

Coconut Oil, melted—5.5 oz, or ½ C

Maca Powder—1 tsp

 

Coconut, toasted—1 oz, or 1/3 C

 

process

Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Spread the coconut onto a sheet tray and toast for ~10 minutes.

You want the coconut to be a nice, golden brown.

While coconut is toasting, combine the crumbs, coconut sugar and maca powder (optional!) in a medium bowl.

Melt the coconut oil over low heat. Once melted, pour over the crumb mixture.

Mix to combine.

This should be a wet-like-sand consistency.

Press the crust into a tart shell—pie shell also works fine!

Bake in the already preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until slightly more golden.

Allow to cool completely before sprinkling the coconut flakes evenly in the bottom of the crust.

Store wrapped in freezer until ready to use.

 

tart filling ingredients

Coconut Milk—10 oz, or 1 ¼ C

Chocolate, 70%—5 oz

Coconut Oil, melted—2.75 oz, or ¼ C

 

process

Scale out all of your ingredients separately.

Melt the coconut milk over low-medium heat.

Once it begins to simmer, pour over your chocolate (chopped, in a heat proof bowl).

Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.

Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the milk/chocolate mixture is homogenous and smooth.

Add in the coconut oil, stir.

Once all of the ingredients are completely combined and smooth, pour into your prepped graham crust shell.

Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours so the chocolate filling can set.

Once set, sprinkle some coarse salt on top, slice and enjoy!

 

Bon Appétit!

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Toasted Oat Granola Bars

Indecision steals many years from many people who wind up wishing they'd just had the courage to leap - Doe Zantamada
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Some big changes have happened in the last few months and I am LIVING for them! Between traveling, work, this beautifully hot summer, going back to school (whaattt?!!), and just life in general, this girl has been oh so busy but just oh so happy! What’s with these changes? Well I decided to stop being so. damn. indecisive. The meditation quote at the top is honestly something that hit me so hard, something that truly resonated with me, and I’m not going to forget it!

Sooo let’s just get into a quick recap, and then why you’re all really here, for those drop dead gorgeous granola bars, which I cannot stop eating, but guess who doesn’t feel bad about it? ME!

Family trip to Costa Rica in July? AMAZING. I believe this was my first “guilt free” trip, aka I was okay that I didn’t work out everyday, I was fine eating all of the tacos and drinking all of the piña coladas, and I was loving floating in the ocean for a week! Boom. That’s growth right there ladies and gents. And now it’s hot AF in Atlanta, but who’s surprised there, pushing me to embrace the sports bra and shorts running life, which I’m also truly enjoying! Never in a million years would I have even dreamed of doing that, but look at me go! …in all honesty, it’s less laundry to wash that way, so maybe it’s just a life hack for you!

Onto my training. I’ve been in race training mode since the spring of 2017. That’s over a year of nonstop training, which helps busy my mind and keep me on a tight schedule, which I’m all about. Between June 2017-July 2018, I ran a 10k, 2 half marathons, 1 marathon, and a shit ton of miles, which may not seem like anything crazy to runners, but between working 2 jobs, trying to sleep, actually see my husband and have a social life, it was a LOT. I never gave myself more than a week of a “break,” and as of now, it’s been 3 weekssince the 10k on July 4th(oh heyyyy best race everrrr!) and I’m okay with it! I love a schedule, I mean come check out my daily to-do planner, but running whatever miles my body is in the mood for – whether it’s 2 or 10 – has been beautiful. Am I itching to sign up for a fall/winter half? Abso-freaking-lutely. Will I? …probably! But hey, loving this moment I’m in right now!

Okay, so also, KICKBOXING – what is UP. Just started, and shout out to Vesta Movement for kicking my behind. I’m obsessed. Like to the point where I just want to be hella strong like the women at this gym, want to get a bag for our house and practice all. day. long. Watch out running, you have huge competition here! Runner’s high is something unreal, but the power you feel after an hour of kickboxing and strength training is insane! Try it. Seriously!

And lastly, school. After over a year+ of going back and forth,errr being indecisive,I’ll be going back to school in the fall for my Master’s in Human Nutrition!  I tried it once in college, and partying took priority then, but now that I’m slightly more mature and focused, I’m doin’ it! Ohhh the dream, back to school at 28! But the day that I am a nutritionist that bakes kick ass healthy pastries, girl, I’ll be living! Just wait, my friends ;)

AND NOW! This recipe. I’ve been trying to create this for soooo dang long! A no bake, simple ingredient, tasty AF, healthy, filling bar. I’ve been so pleased with my last few recipes, and this isn’t any different! It’s such a killer snack, and I mean, your girl is the #queenofsnacking. My recent food sensitivities have really screwed with me, so having to get a touch creative while sticking to my simple ingredients has been a ride! Nut allergy? Try sunflower butter!It’s also GF, (almost) raw, packed with protein and so insanely good that I have made these bars once/week. Yeah, my husband and I are in love … with each other, but mainly with these granola bars. YUM. It’ll take you a total of 5 minutes to make once the oats are toasted, and then let them chill for ~1 hour and then snack time! Crumbling them up a bit and putting on top of my smoothies has been a dream—and after an hour long session of punching and kicking a bag, doing burpees, lunges, and even a nice hilly run, these satisfy every craving you’ll have! They also give you a bit of energy with the maca powder (optional!), refuel with that protein and any sweet cravings you’re having, the dates + raisins + coconut sugar are there for you.

If you read all of this, THANK YOU! Life has been a beautiful thing recently, just took me realizing how my indecisiveness, lack of chill and overall worrying about everything contribute to the crazy anxiety in my life! But hey, y’all got a bomb ass recipe out of this, so you’re welcome, and enjoy it, babes!!

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ingredients

Rolled Oats, toasted—10.5 oz, or 3 cups

Dates, seeded and rough chopped—6 oz, or 1 cup

Raisins—4 oz, or 1 cup

Sunflower Seeds—2 oz, or ½ cup

Flax Seeds—2 TBL

Maca Powder—2 tsp

Collagen Powder—2 scoops

Peanut Butter—11.25 oz, or 1 ¼ cup

Honey—5 oz, or ½ cup

Coconut Sugar—1.25 oz, or 3 TBL

Vanilla Extract—2 tsp

Almond Extract—1 tsp

 

process

Preheat your oven to 350˚F and toast your oats on a baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes. You should be able to smell them when they are finished!

Combine chopped dates, raisins, seeds, maca and collagen into a large bowl.

Once oats have cooled a bit, add to this bowl as well.

In a medium sized sauce pan, combine the peanut butter, honey and coconut sugar. Place over medium heat to melt and combine.

Once all melted, take off of the heat and add in your extracts.

Stir.

Pour over the oat mixture.

Stir (best with your hands!) to coat.

Press onto a baking sheet lined with either a Silpat or parchment paper.

Put in either fridge or freezer for at least an hour.

Remove, cut and eat!

Stores best in either a plastic zip bag or container in the fridge.

 

Bon Appétit!

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Peanut Butter Cups

"Be softer with you. You are a breathing thing, a memory to someone, a home to a life." - Nayyirah Waheed

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Continue reading if healthy dessert to change your life sparks your interest, or your tummy. I mean, that's what's up!

I don't think that I have ever been so patient and thorough with something in my life! I mean, is that so surprising? I'm rather stubborn and impatient with everything I do, because things obviously have to happen now or it's never going to get done! In all of my self love and kindness I've been practicing as of lately, patience is still something I can't seem to get a grasp on. While I'm very aware that most things, recipes included, will take many attempts, trial and errors, test batches, until you're 99% satisfied with it (because, I mean, we can always improve, right?!), I always want the first try to be perfect, no matter what it is!

Take my running for example. When I signed up for my first marathon, I was 100% sure that I could qualify for Boston because I could keep that pace for 10 miles, so why not 26.2? HAH yeah Katie, joke is on you. It's going to take some damn work! Heck, even when I'm doing any type of cross-training work, at the end I'm always like Hey, why don't I have ripped arms and a 6 pack? ... seriously, Katie, patience. The same goes for just about everything with me. You could throw me in a boxing ring, hand me a book in another language, ask me to plant an entire vegetable garden, and I'll almost always feel the urge to get it correct on the first try. What happens when I don't? I give up for a few days, then say some nice things to myself and go back to it, humbled a bit and feeling renewed.

One would think that after doing this on repeat - like Drake's Nice For What has been on for about 5 days - I would finally learn, but hey, go figure that self compassion takes a minute! That is your lesson for the day: be kind to yourself, have a bit of patience, don't be so damn judgmental with every little, or big, thing you do that isn't perfect. If I was perfect all of the time, didn't trip over myself, spill food and drinks constantly, never ever chaffed when I ran, always remembered to put on deodorant... then I think that would be a bit dull! Mistakes are good, they're learning experiences, they help shape you, figure out your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, make you human! 

SO. After that, what I'm trying to say is that these raw peanut butter cups are my little patience victory! I tested out 4+ recipes, I ate 4+ recipes...that's a lot of nuts in a weeks time! After lots of tiny tweaks, these are near perfect. Honestly, I even count these as a healthy snack. The base is very granola bar-esque: lots of nuts, lots of seeds, spices, a touch of sugar - I'd eat that all on its own! The filling, just nut butter + coconut sugar + coconut water = YES PLEASE! And a drizzle of chocolate on the top. Yum. This satisfies your sweet and salty cravings without a doubt. I like using pink Himalayan salt, the bigger chunks, and just breaking it down slightly in the food processor. This allows for you to get some rather salty bites, but with a sweeter filling, it's exactly what is needed! I love to keep these in the freezer, makes it more dessert-like to me! Also, it's beginning to get hot AF in this beautiful southern part of the country, so I'll take everything on ice!

Two raw desserts in a row? I know, weird, right?! As I'm learning more about my body and the things it just cannot digest anymore I'm slowly starting to learn what actually makes me feel amazing! Sure, a Reese's PB Cup is incredible, having 1, 2, or 8 won't kill me if it's not every day, but how about I recreate it to be nutrient packed, healthy and still have the same flavors? Girl, I do not see ANY harm in this, especially if my husband eats them two at a time!

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base ingredients

Almonds—½ cup

Cashews—¾ cup

Hemp seeds—2 TBL

Chia Seeds—1 TBL

Cinnamon—1 ½ TBL

Coconut Sugar—1 ½ TBL

Maca Powder—½ tsp

Collagen Powder—1 scoop

Pink Sea Salt—½ tsp

 

filling ingredients

Nut Butter—2/3 Cup

Coconut Sugar—1 ½ TBL

Coconut Water—¼ Cup

 

topping ingredients

Chocolate—3 oz, or 1 bar

Coconut Oil—1 tsp

 

process

In your food processor, pulse together all of your base ingredients.

Feel the mixture to make sure that when you press together with your fingers it holds, but that it isn’t so wet that liquid is dripping.

Press into the bottom of a muffin pan, spring-form pan or whatever pan works best for you! I have found the putting these into a muffin pan works best for a little bit of portion control…

Freeze for ~1 hour.

For the filling, again, add all of the filling ingredients into the food processor. Pulse until combined.

Always taste this part before adding on top of your base. If you are using a simple nut butter that has very minimal ingredients, including sugar, you may want to add in a teaspoon+ more of the coconut sugar. Also, depending on how thick your nut butter is when you first start, you might want to add in more coconut water. The goal here is to have the filling be a bit looser/creamier so when you freeze it, it is not difficult to bite into.

Pour on top of your base, spread evenly—if you have used the muffin pan, start with 1½ teaspoons of the filling for each, then distribute whatever is left evenly at the end.

Freeze ~1 hour.

For the topping, melt the chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler.

Once completely melted and combined, drizzle over your peanut butter cups. If you have made this in a full pan instead of the muffin pan, just pour all of the chocolate over the filling, spread to cover evenly.

Freeze ~1 hour.

Pop out, cut and enjoy!

Yield: 1 dozen

 

Bon Appétit!

Raw Protein Bites & Life Update

As we listen deeper to our bodies and elevate our health as a value in our lives, we walk the Earth attuned, resilient and nourished.
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As it may be obvious, I have taken a bit of time off from the wonderful world of KBB. Since my last post in December...yes, it's been about 5 months, damn!...I've been oddly busy. Between training for my second marathon (woo 23 minute PR!), exploring our new little neighborhood, finding my husband the perfect bicycle, getting into a new workout routine and finally taking care of my cranky, stubborn body, this website has been forgotten about.

From December all the way to the marathon in late March, that training was consuming me in every single way. It's true that yes, this training cycle was SO much healthier: not restricting my body when it needed food, not staying out way too late on nights when I had a 20 mile run the next morning, getting in stretching, strength training...honestly, there's no way that it could have been better! Even had an incredible running support group, Sugar Runs men and women! It also opened my eyes up to all of the foods that my body rejects that I've been forcing it to deal with for years! The "down" side to marathon training? I'm tired, don't want to do more activity than is assigned, I put my runs first, and I find it acceptable to eat heaps of nuts...like by the handfuls.

It's no secret that I love pushing my body to the limit, like let's get my heart rate way up, run for hours, lift heavier than I'm used to — being in constant competition with myself (fitness-wise) is so much fun for me. But, since coming off of a difficult race — if you even think about doing the Georgia Publix Marathon in Atlanta, be kind to yourself and TRAIN. ON. HILLS. What race has steep rolling hills for the last 6-8 miles?!!? Yeah. I have warned you! — I've decided to take a step back and get my mental health back up. Am I running a half in June? A 10k in July? Why, yes I am! But including yoga, more meditation, oodles of strength training and slightly kinder words to myself during my runs has been such a positive change the past 3-4 weeks.

So, as my fallen toenails are finally growing back and my blisters are healing, I'll be taking a slightly different approach to my day-to-day! Am I still going to be obsessed with running? Still going to push myself a couple of days per week? Hell yeah, who would I be without it?! But I'm also going to become equally as in love with slowing things down, which, if you know me, sitting still is rather difficult unless I'm asleep.

To start in on this new little journey, I want to share one of the yummiest things to come out of this kitchen of ours — like, it tastes so rich it's got to be bad, but girl, it's NOT! I've jumped on the protein ball/raw snack train, and mmm mmm mmm, I'm not getting off. Ever. While the top 4-5 ingredients are a must-have for a delicious base, the rest are all optional add-ins, but I highly recommend! These raw balls have been such an incredible addition to my morning, whether in smoothies, my afternoon sweets craving, something I can quickly eat while at the bakery where I'm surrounded by a million croissants, all buttery and soft and flaky and screaming my name...

...Anyways, as you can tell, it's a healthy and filling alternative to many snacks that I would tend to grab otherwise! And, if you can stay focused for an entire 10 minutes (unlike me), you'll have these raw snack balls faster than it'll take you to drive to your local bakery, purchase 5+ pastries, and eat them all in your car — absolutely no shaming if you do that sometimes, too!

So, please enjoy this recipe below, and as for the future of KBB? I will be adding in some more lifestyle pieces, some healthier dessert ideas, and, as always, weekly doses of our adorable dog, Raleigh, as I want this to be a place of comfort. Where if you're having some rather unpleasant nights after eating too much cheese and ice-cream, you can bet I'm in the same boat and will share all of those tips and tricks! 

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ingredients

Dates—2 cups, pitted and soaked

Collagen or Protein Powder—4 servings

Cacao Powder—1 cup

Almond Meal—3 cups

Coconut Oil—2 tsp

Honey—¾ cup

Cinnamon—1 TBL

Pink Sea Salt—1 tsp

Maca Powder—1tsp

Chia Seeds—1 TBL

Flaxseeds—1 TBL

Cacao Nibs—2 TBL

Almonds—¼ cup

 

process

Place your pitted dates into a heatproof cup; pour boiling water over them until covered to soften, about 5 minutes.

While the dates are soaking, put the collagen or protein, cacao powder and coconut oil into your blender or food processor. Add in the soaked dates + 2-3 TBL of the date water. Make sure to save the water, as you may need to add more later on!

Add in the almond meal (or any nut flour you prefer), honey, cinnamon, salt, maca, chia seeds, flaxseeds, cacao nibs and almonds.

Blend.

At this point, you can taste for flavor and consistency. If it is too dry, add in another tablespoon of the date water. Too wet? Add in more flour. Not feeling the taste? Some honey will sweeten it up, some cinnamon will add a bit of a kick—you choose!

Once they are at their perfect consistency, which is slightly sticky, but not too much that you can’t roll them, roll into about 2” balls.

Then roll all of your little bites in some coconut—can be unsweetened or sweetened, definitely preference—or no coconut at all!

Place in a sealed container in the fridge, and enjoy for a perfect pre workout snack, with a smoothie, an afternoon pick me up!

Makes: ~25 balls

 

Bon Appétit!

 
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