White Chocolate Almond Chunk Cookies

After the holidays I know you want salads + kale + quinoa + millions of vegetables. Trust me, I do. I want those things too.

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But I was looking of my page views and popular recipes in 2012, and the stats don’t lie. You beautiful, smart, and totally amazing readers are looking at sweet things. I get it! I like to stare at pictures of cookies too.

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And so I decided to start 2013 off with a delicious recipe for a cookie with slivered almonds, white chocolate and tons of chewy goodness that you can save for later. Or if you’re weird and anything like me, you can make it now and eat them while watching every episode ever of Gossip Girl. *hangs head in shame*. Now on to these cookies!

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This recipe is easy! First, preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the top position. Then cream the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.

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Mix together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt until combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips. Mix the almonds into the dough.

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Drop mounded tablespoons of dough on the a cookie sheet spacing them 1 inch apart. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand.

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Bake the cookies 4 minutes, rotate the pan, and continue baking for 3-5 minutes, until they show the barest amount of brown around the edges. The centers should be soft but not gooey.

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Cool completely on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container.

Enjoy! And Happy 2013!

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White Chocolate Almond Chunk Cookies
recipe from Shutterbean via With Love and Butter
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups white chocolate chips/chunks
1 1/2 cup almonds (I used slivered)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the top position.

Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt until combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips. Mix the almonds into the dough.

Drop mounded tablespoons of dough on the a cookie sheet spacing them 1 inch apart. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake the cookies 4 minutes, rotate the pan, and continue baking 3-5 minutes, until they show the barest amount of brown around the edges. The centers should be soft but not gooey. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Note:
I baked the cookies for 5 minutes and rotated and then baked for another 5 minutes. Just check your oven often and see what works best for you! xo

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Kale Salad with Oranges, Almonds and Avocado

Yesterday was just another day for me. No Thanksgiving deliciousness, and a giant Kale salad on my dinner plate. I’m Canadian after all, so I ate my weight in mashed potatoes last month.

But with all the gorgeous Thanksgiving recipes that have been popping up all over the internet, I thought I’d give you guys a big kale salad to help detox the body and make you feel like all that binge eating never happened.

This salad is chalk full of goodness. The dressing is simple with fresh squeezed orange juice, olive oil and salt, and the salad itself consists of kale, juicy chopped oranges, almonds, avocado and pomegranate seeds. HELLO health food!

To make this make your dressing first. Combine the juice of one orange with olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and some pepper. Shake or stir until very well combined. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, cut the middle stem part off the kale and place it into a bowl. Peel your second orange and separate the sections. Chop orange sections roughly and place in a bowl with the pomegranate seeds, chopped avocado and almonds.

Drizzle 1/3 of the dressing over salad and toss well to coat. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Oranges, Pomegranate Almonds and Avocado
Recipe lightly adapted from Eat Live Run
Makes one big salad (and dressing for 3 salads)

Ingredients:
1 bunch lacinato kale (“dinosaur” kale”), washed and roughly chopped
2 juicy oranges
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 avocado, diced
10 whole raw almonds
1/2 pomegranate (seeds, of course)
pinch of sea salt and pepper

Directions:
First, make the dressing. Combine the juice of one orange with the olive oil, pinch of sea salt and pepper. Shake or stir until very well combined. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, peel the other orange and separate the sections. Chop orange sections roughly and place in a bowl with the kale, pomegranate seeds, chopped avocado and almonds.

Drizzle 1/3 of the dressing over salad and toss well to coat. Enjoy!

Notes:
-I actually like to let the dressing soak into the kale for about 10 minutes before eating.
-Extra dressing will stay good in a sealed jar for a about a week.

Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado, and Almonds

I have been in a bit of a fall salad rut for a while. I had trouble coming up with anything other than roasted squash and beets on lettuce. A normal conundrum. One I have every year.

For me, having a salad for lunch is ideal, and I was so happy when I came across this simple salad on the Kitchn. Simple, easy, different, and awesome! Who knew I would be so into kale?

All you need to do is gather up your ingredients. Fold a piece of kale in half lengthwise and use your fingers to tear out the tough inner stem. Repeat with the other leaves of kale. Tear all the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Cut the apricots into little bits and add them to the bowl with the kale, along with the almonds and the cheese.

Whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour the vinaigrette and a healthy pinch of salt over the salad and use your fingers to toss and rub everything together.

Transfer the salad to a bowl and leave the salad for about 10 minutes (this makes the dressing soak into the kale a bit). Slice the avocado into cubes and spoon them over the salad. Enjoy! And if you have any fall salad ideas, let me know! I’m always up for suggestions.

Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado, and Almonds
Serves one
Recipe lightly adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients:
6-8 ounces of raw kale
5 dried apricots
small handful of raw almonds (I used about 10)
1 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 avocado
salt and pepper

Directions:
Fold a piece of kale in half lengthwise and use your fingers to tear out the tough inner stem. Repeat with the other leaves of kale. Tear all the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Cut the apricots into little bits and add them to the bowl with the kale, along with the almonds and the cheese. Whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour the vinaigrette and a healthy pinch of salt over the salad and use your fingers to toss and rub everything together. Transfer the salad to a bowl.

Just before eating, slice the avocado into cubes and spoon them over the salad.

Note: This salad will keep for about 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk

After dealing with weird digestive issues and stomach problems for the majority of my life, I decided last summer to start experimenting with food and figure out what the problem was. Sure, it took me 23 years, but it’s better late than never!

I started with eliminating dairy from my diet for a month, and lucky for me that’s all I needed to do to fix my problems! No more pain! And I figured it out on the first try. From then on I started trying various kinds of “milks”, and found almond milk was by far my favorite – vanilla almond milk to be specific.

This recipe is ridiculously easy, and waaaay cheaper than buying almond milk from the store. I have a smoothie every morning for breakfast so almond milk goes mega-fast in this house. Hope you like the recipe!

To make this, first soak the raw almonds in water for at least 6 hours, and then drain them.

Pour the almonds into a blender and add the cold filtered water.

Blend well. When you see a froth on the top, stop blending.

Add the vanilla and honey. Blend again for another 20-30 seconds.

Take the cheesecloth, and fold to ensure it is at least 4 layers thick. Put the cheesecloth on the top of the pitcher and secure it with a big elastic band. Use your fist to push some of the cheesecloth down into the pitcher so that it is not tight on top. Pour the almond mix through the cheesecloth into the pitcher.

It’s like a science project!

Use a big spoon to help push the milk through the mass of almond and into the pitcher. You can scoop out the thick paste when it builds up.

Enjoy! It’s best when it’s cold. Mmm.

Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk
Recipe taken from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds, unsalted
4 cups cold, filtered water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Honey

Directions:
1. Soak the raw almonds covered in water for at least 6 hours, and then drain them.
2. Pour the almonds into a blender and add the cold filtered water.
3. Blend well. When you see a froth on the top, stop blending.
4. Add the vanilla and honey.
5. Blend again for another 20-30 seconds.
6. Take the cheesecloth, and fold to ensure it is at least 4 layers thick.
7. Put the cheesecloth on the top of the pitcher and secure it with a big elastic band. Use your fist to push some of the cheesecloth down into the pitcher so that it is not tight on top.
8. Pour the almond mix through the cheesecloth into the pitcher.
9. Use a big spoon to help push the milk through the mass of almond and into the pitcher.

And voila, you have Almond Milk!

Note: For a sugar-free option, eliminate the honey and add Stevia instead to taste.

Lentil Feta Salad {Vegetarian Collection}

This year I turn 25 and because of that I started this little list. There are 30 things I want to do before I turn 30, and baby, I’m going to do them no matter what!

Besides wanting to drink in a pub while singing an Irish bar song in Ireland, I also have a few things that are a little more right now instead of in the futre. One of those things is to cook my way through a book from cover to cover.

When choosing a book I had to take two things into consideration. The first is that I am a vegetarian so I can’t choose a book with meat in it, and the second is that I like the way my body is shaped now and didn’t think choosing a baking book was the best idea. I bake once to twice a week already and that’s more than enough!

Lucky for me I work in a book store so during my breaks I had a ton of cookbooks to look at. After browsing many, many, cookbooks I choose Canadian Living’s The Vegetarian Collection and have made 6 recipes from it so far – all delicious! This was the first recipe I made and the very first recipe in the book. I hope you enjoy this lovely, healthy salad, and this new segment on my blog!

To begin, toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often until golden, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together your oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add lentils and garlic; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; drain again. Disgard garlic.

Add lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and parsley to a large bowl.

Toss with dressing to coat.

Stir in almonds and about ¼ cup of feta cheese. Sprinkle remaining feta just before serving.

Enjoy!

Lentil Feta Salad
Recipe from The Vegetarian Collection
Makes 4 regular and 6 small servings
Per 1 of 6 servings: 305 calories | 14g protein | 18g total fat | 25g carbohydrates | 6g fibre

Ingredients:
½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup dried green lentils
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olove oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dried oregano (or fresh)
salt and pepper
1 ½ cups cucumber, diced, seeded and peeled
1 cup halved grape (or cherry) tomatoes
½ cup red onion, diced, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:
In a small dry skillet, toast almonds over medium heat, stirring often until golden, about 5 minutes.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add lentils and garlic; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; drain again. Disgard garlic.
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and parsley. Toss to coat.
Stir in almonds and about ¼ cup of feta cheese. Sprinkle remaining feta just before serving.

Strawberry Salad with Sugared Almonds

This salad makes me feel good all over. I feel womanly. I feel thin. I feel sexy.

I like this salad so much because it has all that I need to fill me up, and taste great at the same time. I love the way that the sweet poppyseed dressing goes with the strawberries, sugared almonds, goats cheese, and cranberries. The lettuce adds a little green and screams “you are healthy, baby – strut it”.

So eat this for lunch with a cocktail in hand and sunscreen on your skin. You’ll feel unstoppable. Oh, and make sure to wear cute sandals too. That’s always a good idea.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk sugar, mayonnaise, milk, vinegar and poppy seeds.

Pour that dressing over the rest of your ingredients and enjoy!

Strawberry Salad with Sugared Almonds
From the Bite me cookbook
Serves 6

Ingredients:
Poppy Seed Dressing
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp poppy seeds

8 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
1 recipe of sugared almonds
1 cup sliced strawberries
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup crumbled goats cheese (I used goat cheese balls)

Directions:
Prepare sugared almonds.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk sugar, mayonnaise, milk, vinegar and poppy seeds.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, strawberries, cranberries, and sugared almonds. Toss with dressing and goats cheese and serve.

Note: A BIG thanks to Alicia Leroux for taking all of these photos. You rock my world! AND…I want your camera.

Marathon Cookies

I’m currently training for the Ottawa half marathon on May 30th. What is a half marathon? It is a 21.1 km (13.2 mile) run that requires intense training. Luckily, I love running and also LOVE the training that goes along with it. Maybe it’s because of the “runners high” I get during, and after every long run. The runners high is the effect of endorphins that are released during long, continuous workouts. Gotta love natural drugs!

Because I run so often, and for so long, I constantly need to be re-fueling my body with essential nutrients and sugars. Not chocolate bar sugars, but natural sugars such as fruit. Check out these dates!

My boyfriend’s aunt had us over for dinner recently and afterwards came out with a giant plate of amazing tasting baked goods. One of the many cookie-types to choose from on the platter was a cookie she called energy cookies. I totally understand why. These cookies were chalked full (and I mean FULL) of dried fruits and nuts. So clearly I asked her for the recipe.

The base of the cookie is so scrumptious, and the nuts and fruit are perfect to fill your body with energy after a long run, walk, or hike. I also brought these cookies camping recently, and they were perfect.

Why did I change the name to “Marathon Cookies”? Because I’ve been eating them after my long training days, and will certainly be eating them after my big day. The cookies freeze perfectly. Wish me luck!

Ingredients:
1 lb dates, chopped
1/2 lb dried apricots, chopped
1/2 lb dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 lb raisons
1/2 lb dried pineapple
1/2 lb almonds, chopped
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp each of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl mix together dates, apricots, cranberries, raisons, pineapple, and almonds.
2. In a separate large bowl cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time.
3. In another separate medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
4. Mix together creamed mixture with flour mixture until well combined. Add in dried fruit and almonds. The mixture will be very “chunky” and this is A-OK. You want it this way.


5. Spoon by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie tray.


6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Energy-Packed Granola Bars

Guess what? I’m going skiing today! Not downhill, or mogul jumping or anything like that, but wholesome cross-country skiing. Excited? I am! It’s just like any other day though. Why? It’s morning, and I’m about to bake. No surprise. The difference with today is that I need to bake something that I can have to snack on while skiing. So, what better than energy-packed granola bars?

Granola bars are great because you can cater them to your own wants and needs. Like cranberries, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup and almonds. Or how about peanut butter, cashews, and chocolate? Or coconut, golden raisons, honey and sesame seeds? Holy variety! I’m a vegetarian, and because of this my cupboards are FILLED to the brim with various nuts, seeds, oats and dried fruit…the perfect ingredients for granola bars! Today I’m going to go with oats, nuts, seeds, honey and dried fruit.

You’ll never buy granola bars again. These are preservative free, and full of ingredients that you KNOW. Heck, you’re going to make them, so pack them full with ingredients you like!

This recipe was adapted from the Golden Book of Baking.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup of nuts (I used a mix of roasted redskin peanuts, cashews, and roasted almonds)
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used a mix of sultana raisins, dried cranberries, and dried papaya)
1/2 cup seeds (I used a mix of sunflower seeds and raw hulled pumpkin seeds)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375F, and butter an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.
2. Melt the butter with the honey and raw sugar in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved completely.


3. Remove from heat and stir in the oats, nuts, dried fruit, seeds, cinnamon and salt.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just golden.
5. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Sugared Almonds

Ever get a craving for something sweet, but don’t want to stuff your face with chocolate bars? Me neither..no, I’m kidding I do. Late at night when I’m craving something sweet I try to snack on something healthy. My personal favorite? Sugared almonds. They are easy and quick to make, and always jolt me with the little boost I need. They’re filling too!

These almonds are also great on a salad! So make a triple batch, eat 2/3’s of it, and throw the rest on some yummy greens.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp water
3/4 cup slivered almonds

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water together over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
2. Add slivered almonds and stir to coat. Continue to cook until sugar and almonds turn golden.
3. Remove from heat and place almonds on a piece of aluminum foil that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray.