Killer Chocolate Chunk Cookies

FULL DISCLAIMER:

I almost named this post “TRUE LIFE: I don’t have any natural light in my basement apartment kitchen so I take pictures of all my food on my bed so it at least looks somewhat decent”.

WTFSTFUTCASFGHS was the second contender. For those of you over 28 years of age, that stands for “What the f***, shut the f*** up, these cookies are so f***ing good, holy s***”. You’re welcome.

Ancient History.

When I was growing up, my mom always made cookies from scratch. Chocolate chip was her specialty. My mom was different. All my friends’ moms bought Toll House pre-made cookie dough. They got to eat Lunchables – I got homemade lunch. They got Fruit By The Foots – I got fruit leathers. Pre-made, store bought foods were sooo cool. Why couldn’t my mom just buy me packaged foods and call it a day?

Jokes on me. Now I look back and think, I’m so lucky to have been raised by a woman that took no short cuts, and that believed in knowing exactly what she is feeding her children. Love you, mom.

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COOKIES.

So here we go.

Let’s start with the chocolate. After removing cane sugar from my diet, chocolate was at the top of my list of things to create and conquer, and was the first sweet I had re-created. Raw chocolate, to be exact. It’s fairly simple to make. You melt down a little raw cacao butter and raw coconut oil in a glass bowl over low steam, mix in a little raw cacao powder, salt, maple syrup, whisk and done.

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Raw cacao is a pretty incredible super food – packed with heart-healthy essential fats like oleic, stearic and palmitic acids, a ton of fiber, proteins like glutamine (essential to repair leaky gut), arginine, and leucine, polyphenols with antioxidant properties, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B9, vitamin E, and last but not least, pretty much every mineral you can think of.

Of course, gluten free, corn free, dairy free, sugar free, egg free cookies were on the list as well. I read several recipes for gluten-free cookies, but I just kept going back to the basics. This recipe is very similar to the one my mom made growing up. Mix your dry ingredients, mix your wet ingredients, mix them both together, bake, viola.

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Other than the lack of wheat and real butter, the only other difference is that these cookies use ground flax seed in place of eggs. I know, this sounds strange, but trust me. When ground flax is mixed with a liquid, it becomes a sticky gel and almost the same consistency as beaten eggs. Kitchen miracles, man.

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Plus, flax is one of the most powerfully nutritious and medicinal ingredients known to man. We’re talking omega-3s, lignans, soluble and insoluble fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, and many other wonderful little micronutrients and antioxidants.

Eating ground flax daily has been proven to regulate elevated estrogen levels and balance hormones in women. Also, consuming ground flax can stop breast and prostate cancers from growing, it can lower cholesterol, regulate digestion, regulate blood sugar and help ease menopause symptoms. Tip: If you want to get on your mom’s good side, make her a batch of these cookies and you will thank me. Cookies + no hot flashes = happy mom.

 Fun fact: Flax seeds were once cultivated by the ancient Egyptians.

Now that you know these guilt-free cookies are fun for the whole family, bake away!

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One more tip: You may omit the chocolate altogether and replace with some chopped fruit and nuts. Some good combos would be dried apricot and walnut, wild blueberry and almond, or even raspberry and macadamia nut. Yum! Make it your own.

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Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Sugar Free / Egg Free / Corn Free
Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 Ingredients:

2 sticks (8 ounces) vegan butter – room temperature and soft

2 heaping cups of gluten-free all purpose flour

¼ cup arrowroot starch/powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups of coconut sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

6 tablespoons filtered water

2 tablespoons coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ – 1 cup of chocolate chunks or chips of choice

Directions:

  1. Mix flax and water together in a small cup. Set aside to gel.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients (except for the chocolate).
  3. In a large bowl, mix vegan butter, sugar, and maple syrup together until well mixed and creamy in texture.
  4. Add the flax gel, vanilla extract and coconut milk to the butter and sugar. Whisk until mixture is cohesive.
  5. Fold the dry mixture into to the wet mixture about a cup at a time until combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  7. Place mixture in the refrigerator to set for one hour.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 375º F.
  9. Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. I bake 6 cookies at a time.
  10. Bake for about 9-13 minutes, or until cooked through.

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Enjoy!

The Easiest Thing You Will Ever Make: Almond Milk

For my first post, I wanted to share something that was easy to make and that could be used every day as a kitchen staple. What better than to make some homemade nut milk?

Believe it or not, almond milk (or any other milk for that matter) has been on my “list of foods I am indifferent to” up until a few months ago.

Probably because whenever I drank it, it was from one of those little foil lined, rectangular cartons with the little spouts on top, sitting on the shelf of the grocery store for who knows how long, and filled with lots of crazy stuff to thicken, preserve, and extend the shelf life of the milk.

Oh, how I am a changed woman! This homemade version tastes so creamy and delicious, you will never buy the pre-made version again. I promise.

The beginning.

When I first got the maker spark, it was in huge part to Miss Sarah Britton of My New Roots. She makes yogurt all by herself! She makes raw chocolate! She is amazing! Electric! Sparkly! Pretty much every single one of her recipes I could make despite my dietary restrictions.

So, Sarah had this quick video on how to make fresh nut milk and I was compelled to give it a go. It looked too easy. It looked so white and creamy. I could literally smell frothy cream through my computer screen. I was hardcore salivating. I needed that milk.

She simply soaked one cup of nuts overnight, rinsed the nuts in the morning, put them in the blender with four cups of water, gave is a whirl, poured it through a bag into a pitcher, squeezed that bag like a banshee, and viola! The milk of the nuts.

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Two minutes after watching the video I bought an organic cotton and hemp fiber nut milk bag ($16)  online here . I wanted to save a few dollars so I picked standard ground shipping, hah, which took one week to ship. I had never been so excited to receive a package before. Seriously, when I was five my parents gave me a full on barbie makeup set and I was like 100 times more stoked than that day.

The package arrived! Love at first sight. The bag was given a nice warm initiation bath, and it was officially knighted into my kitchen. Since I had been stalking the package delivery every single day since I placed the order, I knew when it was coming. I already had some nuts soaked prepared for the arrival.

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ABOUT ALMONDS:

This is very important! I use organic “raw” almonds, which are pasteurised with a flash steaming process, so they are not truly raw, although they are the closest thing to raw we will find here in the States, Canada, or Mexico.

If you buy “conventional” almonds, they are guaranteed to be gassed with carcinogenic PPO, propylene oxide, a chemical that is well known to cause cancer!

Almonds from the United States, Canada and Mexico cannot be sold truly raw due to two isolated outbreaks of salmonella.  This article  and  this article  have great information on why almond fumigation and pasteurization occur and the consequences of each.

Give your nuts a good soak. When nuts and seeds are soaked, they are being “activated” and are at the beginning stage of sprouting. This means the nuts will be easier to digest, have a lower glycemic index and are anti-nutrient degraded. Also, the nutrient, vitamin and mineral content of the soaked nuts will be increased over three times compared to unsoaked nuts! Kitchen miracles.

Back to the milk.

Do yourself a favor and purchase a nut milk bag today. I’m drinking a glass of it right now and it is heavenly. Once you make your first batch, you will be hooked!

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Tips.

When making the milk, just remember that the nut to water ratio should be 1:4. For making one litre (about four cups), use one heaping cup of almonds and four cups of filtered water. If you’re like me and prefer your milk to be on the creamier side (an excellent coffee creamer), use one and a half to two cups of almonds per litre of water.

Leave the almond skins on – the skins contain more nutrients! Your results will be just as white as any nut or dairy milk.

Do not use tap water. Tap water contains hard metals, pharmaceuticals, and fluoride, all of which do not belong in your nut milk or body.

Feel free to use any kind of nuts for your milk. Hemp seeds would be delicious as well. Often times when I am cleaning out my cupboards, I do a combination of nuts like cashews, walnuts and hazelnuts. Go crazy!

Save your nut pulp for other recipes or dehydrate to use as almond meal. Just spread the layer of pulp on a baking sheet, place in oven on lowest temperature possible until completely dry, run through the blender for a fine meal or leave as is for a coarse meal. Store in airtight container.

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Here we go…


Almond Milk

Tools:
-Blender with steel blades
-Pitcher
-Nut milk bag
-Glass container to store milk

Ingredients:
-1 cup raw organic almonds
-4 cups filtered water (do not use tap water)
-Pinch of kosher salt (optional)

Directions:
1. Soak nuts overnight up to 24 hours.
2. Rinse and drain nuts. Place in blender.
3. Add water and salt. Blend on medium power for about 2-3 minutes until nuts are completely pulverized and mixture is frothy.
4. Secure nut milk bag to pitcher. Pour almond mixture through bag. Untie bag and squeeze from the top of the bag down until milk is completely extracted.
5. Pour milk into the storage container and enjoy! Keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days.


It’s easy as…

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Tell me how it goes. Thanks for reading!

 

Making The Maker.

What is a maker?

To put it simply, a maker is someone who makes something, normally with their hands.

I have always been intrigued with makers – artists and leaders – relying on themselves to create, innovate, inspire, and self-motivate, and I have always like making things.

However, in this case, we’re talking about a whole lifestyle, not just a hobby. Making everything (or almost everything) we use and feed ourselves. By doing this, we will confidently know exactly what we put in and on our bodies.

We have welcomed corporations into almost every inch of our lives, and in return have lost the ability to rely on ourselves. Produce sold in grocery stores and even farmers markets around the world are grown on farms now owned and operated by the corporation voted “most unethical company”, yet we continue to support them by purchasing their product. Enough.

Us humans are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. We should be able to depend on ourselves for whatever our need, especially now in the age of the internet and Google.

The spark.

Don’t laugh- it all started with an unintentional soul-searching trip to Joshua Tree, CA.

I was driving up with my very talented folk-singing friend’s mom, Cammy, to watch her daughter play a show at the Joshua Tree Saloon. If you’re anything like me, road trips are a time for deep reflection – shit gets real. Heart-to-hearts are bound to happen and the truth is revealed. Hah.

At one point, our conversation turned to health and wellness. I hadn’t been feeling well in several parts in my life. I was working a job in real estate at the time and it wasn’t fulfilling. I knew I wanted more out of life than just selling houses. I was taking 35 mg of Adderall per day for my ADD. Also, I had a multitude of vague symptoms that I had been dismissing: adult acne, constipation, fatigue, brain fog, and just a general sense of un-health.

Cammy suggested that I go see her naturopath doctor as soon as we got back in town. The moment we returned home I called up the office and scheduled an appointment. This was not a regular doctor’s appointment – this appointment was a full 90 minutes of care and attention. It was about treating the root of the issues and not just trimming the branches. I never looked back.

The diagnosis.

About a pint of blood later and flash forward to getting my test results back from the labs: I had been diagnosed with leaky gut and it had been causing the plethora of issues. My testosterone was through the roof, my estrogen was super high, I was anemic, my blood sugar was elevated, and I was allergic to cow dairy, eggs, wheat, rye, spelt, gluten, sugar cane, corn, broccoli, string beans, pineapple, bananas, and cranberries. Woah.

Damn, I really miss broccoli.

To put it nicely, leaky gut occurs when your intestines are permeable, causing incompletely digested food, waste, and bacteria to pass through the gut straight into the circulatory (blood) system. The body then recognizes these “foreign substances” and attacks, causing inflammation, a weakened immune system, and decreased  absorption of nutrients. When leaky gut is not treated, it manifests in many horrible ways, including autoimmune disease. My mother has suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for many years, and I had all of the same digestive issues she had throughout her life.

The doctor gave me lots of supplements and put me on a minimum three-month protocol. I thought I had been eating a relatively healthy diet in the past, but I had no idea what changes were in store. I literally had to start cooking every single thing I put into my mouth, from scratch. Going to restaurants was like playing a game of Russian Roulet and wasn’t worth the risk of getting sick. I learned the hard way, trust me.

After about two months, I started feeling amazing. My skin cleared up, I was regular, I had mental clarity, and I actually had energy when I woke up! I also wanted to work out and exercise. This was better than any drug I was ever prescribed. The feeling was so empowering.

I quit Adderall and my real estate job. I started a little vegetable garden in our humble backyard.

The domino effect.

After transforming my entire diet, it started a whole domino effect throughout every part of my life. If I knew what I was putting in my body, I should definitely know what I’m putting on my body, especially after learning how fluoride and aluminum were extremely toxic. So I began experimenting with some ingredients from the kitchen and bath and developed natural (and edible) solutions for the body such as a (very popular) all-purpose balm, facial hydrating mist, body scrub, toothpaste powder, and homemade deodorant. Again, empowerment.

Now I’m hooked on DIY projects – hydro and aeroponic gardening, crocheting blankets and scarves, making jewelry with my best friend, naturally dying fabrics, ceramics, and of course, recipe developing.

I want to share all the beauty and information I have learned with the world. My goal is to provide recipes and projects that are easy to follow along with and life changing. We can all un-commercialize, one change at a time.

I hope you love the maker as much as I do.

Love,

Nicolette.

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