Mint Chocolate Macaroons (Paleo)

Well I’ve officially “moved” from the hills of western mass back to my home town near boston. My house is still on the market so my feet are still somewhat tied but on a weekly basis I’ve begun working my new jobs and living out east full time! It’s WONDERFUL to not have to drive back and forth across the state every other day and I believe most of the craziness has past but there is still so much that I need to organize and settle into. So far I am LOVING my new jobs as a coach at Crossfit Tri County and a waitress/bartender at an awesome super busy restaurant in Dedham. I’m on track to enroll in the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner course through the NTA starting in February which has been on my to-do-ASAP list for far too long, my new living situation and job flexibility will allow me to finally continue my education in the field I am most passionate about.

While all this news sounds so positive and “Merry”, if you asked me how I was doing just a few days ago I wouldn’t have been able to answer because I was overwhelmed with sad, negative, self-degrading emotions. The ups and downs of change and, in this case, huge life transitions can really mess with your brain and challenge your internal strength but ultimately there will always be good and bad days, happy and sad moments, comforting and fearful experiences. No matter what life throws your way its important to stay present and remember that you can only control you; how you react, how you behave, how you feel. Feeling emotions isn’t a bad thing, but letting them affect your life in a negative way is. If something is causing you pain and you can remove it from your life, you need to take charge and remove it. If some reoccuring thoughts are causing you to be unable to move forward, you need to confront them and forgive yourself so that you can move on. Life doesn’t always present you with rainbows and butterflies, or maybe it does but we just cant see them because we are too upset about the rain? Food for thought. 🙂

Now, enough of that, back to the reason why you’re here: here’s a super easy and festive recipe you can whip up to bring to your next holiday cookie swap or party. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • dash of sea salt

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F)

-In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except egg white and salt

-In another bowl whisk egg white and salt with a hand mixer on high for 1-2 minutes until stiff peaks form

-Carefully fold egg white into the coconut mixture until well combined

-Scoop balls onto parchment lined backing sheet

-Bake for 30 minutes

-Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature

-(Optional) melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate in a small bowl and mix in 1/4 tsp peppermint extract (alcohol free). Dip the bottoms of each macaroon into chocolate and place back on parchment paper until chocolate has solidified

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Pecan Pie Tarts (Paleo, Vegan)

Fall… aka #PieSeason! This is the time where I feel terribly for anyone with a pecan allergy, because pecan pie is literally one of the most delicious desserts ever created (in my opinion). These tartlet variations aren’t the most cut and dry of recipes, but one batch makes quite a few and I love being able to grab one here and there versus the looming pie-left-must-eat feeling you get when you try to slowly work your way through a full sized pie. It’s also pretty much guaranteed that these will be scooped up quick at any holiday party as well because they are so *cute* and no one wants to be the first person to cut into a perfectly untouched pie. In the recipe I use fancy little tartlet pans but you can also use a cupcake (or mini-cupcake) pan as well. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

(Tart Shell)

  • 2 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 TB coconut oil, melted
  • 3 TB maple syrup
  • 1-2 TB almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

(Filling)

  • 1/3 cup dates
  • 5 TB maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 TB almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, halved lengthwise

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a small bowl combine almond flour, salt and baking soda

-In another small bowl mix together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla.

-Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined and no clumps are left.

-Grease mini tartlet pans with coconut oil and add in one 1 inch diameter ball of dough to each, pressing them evenly into each crevasse of the mold

-Cut 2 inch squares of aluminum foil and then make one cut to the center of each square. Place a piece of foil into each tartlet pan pressing down gently.

-Fill each mold with a weighted object that wont cook in the oven- I use raw beans.

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-Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a light golden brown appears on the crust.

-Remove from oven, carefully remove the foil with beans and let the shells cool for about 5 minutes.

-Using a toothpick gently reach into the edge of the crust and pan and start to loosen the tartlet on 2-4 sides.

*Sometimes these pop out pretty quickly and sometimes they take some patience and TLC. I’ve found that there seems to be an optimal time to remove these from the pans but have no fear you will learn quickly when they are ready and when they are not.

-While the tartlet crusts are coking you can start the filling.

-Soak dates in hot water for 10 minutes

-In a sauce pan over low heat combine maple syrup, coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla. Remove from heat when melted.

-Add soaked dates,maple syrup mixture and salt to a food processor and process until smooth.

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-Move mixture back into cooled saucepan (or another bowl but I like to minimize my clean up time) and add in finely chopped pecans, stirring until well combined.

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-Add one spoonful of filling to each cooled tartlet then carefully place halved pecans in a star shape.

Enjoy these warm or store in the fridge (14 days) or freezer (up to 3 months)!

Pumpkin Freezer Fudge (Paleo, Vegan)

Fall is my all-time favorite season. Apple picking, pumpkin carving, watching the leaves change colors, brisk mornings and evenings, what’s there not to love! Well- in my opinion- the sugary, artificial “pumpkin spice” everything is a bit overkill. Pumpkin is a squash and therefore it’s not inherently the sweetest ingredient for baked goods but it is easily complimented by natural sweeteners to make some delicious, nutrient dense treats. Pumpkin pie is probably the most common- but this freezer fudge is definitely a new favorite of mine. The recipe is quick and easy and it’s sure to please a wide array of audiences. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cups coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

-Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

-Add all ingredients except the walnuts into a food processor and process until smooth.


-Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, use spatula to smooth.


-Sprinkle walnuts evenly over the mixture and freeze for an hour or until firm.


-Remove from freezer and let sit out for 5 minutes before cutting into squares.


-Enjoy!

I typically cut and then individually wrap each square and place them back into the freezer to grab whenever I need a treat! These are best eaten within 2 weeks if stored in the fridge or freezer.