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Lactation Cookies

February 17, 2015

Lactation Cookies (3) | Espresso and Cream

For the next number of days (or perhaps weeks?!) I think I’ll be talking about how we’re in “the home stretch” with this pregnancy. At 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant, not that anyone is counting, I’m quite ready to be done being pregnant and meet our little peanut! I’ve been doing a little nesting around the house over the past few weeks, cleaning the house from top to bottom and organizing every drawer and closet in our house, except for that really scary one filled with clothes that no longer fit me in the basement.

I’ve also been doing a little cooking, although not nearly as much as I thought I would. I had grand visions of making a thousand healthy freezer meals to eat at a moment’s notice, but instead we settled for going to Costco and stocking our basement freezer with frozen lasagna, loaves of whole wheat bread, soups and frozen pizza.

The one thing I did make from scratch, however, were these lactation cookies. I’ve heard great things about different types of lactation cookies over the years but never really paid much attention to them until I actually had a need for my own recipe. Most of the recipes I found online were laden with lots of butter, sugar and white flour. And while I totally support cookies made with traditional ingredients, I know that I’ll also be trying to lose the baby weight and eat a little more healthfully in the months to come.

Lactation Cookies | Espress and Cream

I decided to play around with finding a happy balance, creating a cookie that’s both delicious and semi-healthy. I cut the butter down a bit and reduced the sugar. Additionally, I added plenty of flax seed and oats and used a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. I think the end result is a cookie that tastes amazing and slightly sweet but also doesn’t leave you feeling guilty after you eat one, or two, or three. Not that I would know or anything.

Lactation Cookies
Serves: 30
  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons brewer's yeast
  • 2½ cups rolled oats
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Spray a large cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add in the sugar, brown sugar and flax seed and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda and brewer's yeast. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Beat in the oats, followed by the dark chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.



Gluten-Free Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

June 26, 2014

Gluten Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream

Lately I’ve really become captivated by the idea of simplicity and minimalism. It started with building a capsule wardrobe (more on that soon) and after I finished, I looked at my closet, so empty and uncluttered and scaled down to what I truly loved to wear and something started to click. In the past few weeks I’ve been digging and sorting through the junk drawer in our kitchen (does everyone have one of those?) and our pantry filled with kitchen appliances. It spilled over into the giant collection of magazines that I’ve kept for years; I tossed all but my favorite old issues of Gourmet and a few items of my own published work. I’ve been selling unused kitchen appliances and giving away cookbooks that I’ve collected over the years and just don’t have room to store. My house is starting to feel like a clean-running machine rather than a car loaded down with stuff.

A little voice in my head kept saying, “I need less.” “I want less!” You see, if I’m not careful I find myself getting caught up in the fallacy that I need more and more. I finish a much-needed living room remodel and start to fixate on other rooms in our house. Rooms that don’t really need to be updated, but something inside me whispers that if I just changed that one little thing, I would be happier.

So lately, when I start to think that I need more than I really do, I remind myself that I would rather spend my life living rather than managing my stuff and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies 2 | Espresso and CreamI guess some of that simplicity-seeking has translated into my cooking at home, too. I’ve been baking with less sugar, imagining that’s probably the way that my grandma baked living on the farm all those years ago. It’s been nice, in this era of hyper-sweetened desserts, to sit down and enjoy a really simple, lightly sweet cookie that tastes like something you could eat every day rather than something you can only enjoy on a birthday or special occasion. And, I suppose, with each of these cookies only having 135 calories per cookie, you certainly could have one every day.

Gluten-Free Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
Serves: 15
  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar (I used ¼ for lightly sweet cookies, use ½ C if you want sweeter cookies)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Chex gluten-free instant oats or other instant gluten-free oats of choice
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients until well combined. Roll dough into 15 balls, a little more than 1-inch in diameter. Use a fork sprayed with cooking spray to press a criss-cross pattern into the tops of the cookies.
  3. Bake on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray 8 minutes or until edges are set and just golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack, about 10 minutes.



Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake for Two

February 3, 2014


Happy Monday, friends! I’m so excited that February is finally here. In my mind, January is always a bit of a dull month where spring feels forever away and the post-holiday blues have set in. But February brings the Super Bowl and the Olympics and Valentine’s Day and spring is just close enough that there is a light at the end of the winter tunnel.

Although I’ve never been much for the pressure associated with Valentine’s Day (the gifts! and flowers! and finding the perfect restaurant!) I do enjoy the fact that we have an entire day devoted to showing friends and family how much we love and care for them. It’s pretty great, right? Plus, Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate, and that’s something I wholeheartedly support.


I love baking but having a full batch of cookies or an entire cake in the house with just two people to eat said cookies or cake is a little bit dangerous. My willpower only lasts so long and eventually I have to cave. My friend, Christina, is my hero because she solves this problem every day with her website Dessert For Two. She scales down desserts to serve two people, meaning fewer leftovers and less temptation to eat, say, a dozen cookies.

I took a cue from Christina for this year’s Valentine’s Day and made a small deep-dish cookie cake. It’s certainly not health food by any means, but it is gluten-free and grain-free thanks to the use of almond meal. The resulting cookie cake is gooey, rich and incredibly tasty. I can’t even begin to tell you about the deliciousness that is this cookie cake. If you’re looking to cut back on the sugar in this recipe, I have also had success swapping out Truvia baking blend for the brown sugar in this recipe. When doing so, use 2 teaspoons of the baking blend in place of the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake for Two
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate morsels
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 6-ounce ramekin with cooking spray. Set aside
  2. In small bowl, stir together the butter, sugar and egg yolk until well combined and smooth. Stir in the vanilla, baking soda and salt until well combined. Stir in the almond meal until just combined, followed by the dark chocolate morsels.
  3. Spoon mixture into ramekin. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center is still slightly soft. Cool 10 minutes. Enjoy warm!

Healthier Whole Wheat Pizookie

March 1, 2012

Are you in the ‘I need something sweet after dinner’ club with me? Even if it’s nothing big, just a piece of chocolate or a mug of diet hot chocolate, I have to have a little something for dinner to feel complete. Other times, I crave something more substantial, like a cookie or ice cream. Or, in this case, a pizookie.

I was first introduced to the concept of a pizookie by Fitnessista, who has an undying love for these chocolate chip cookies baked up pizza/cake style. And now I totally understand why. Thick and gooey chocolate chip cookies? What’s not to love.

But since my craving for pizookies struck during the middle of the week (not typically the day I choose to indulge in a decadent dessert), I decided to get a little creative and make the pizookies you saw in last week’s post a little healthier and less guilt-inducing. So what did I do? Here’s the rundown:
-Used 100% whole wheat flour
-Used Egg Beaters in place of regular eggs
-Cut back the sugar by half and used a mashed banana instead
-Reduced the butter from 8 tablespoons to 4 tablespoons

The results were fantastic! Although Joey was pretty skeptical when I told him I had made a healthy dessert, he was a believer at first bite. Keep in mind, these do taste healthy and don’t taste like a typical cookie (they are more muffin-like), but this dessert really hit the spot on a Thursday night. I baked these in 4-inch ramekins from Target, but keep in mind that a serving is for 1/2 a pizookie. Not to worry, the serving is still pretty substantial and it’s a great reason to sit down with your loved on and share a dessert together. 

Healthier Whole Wheat Pizookie
*1 1/2 cups whole wheat four
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/2 cup granulated sugar
*4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
*1 medium banana, mashed
*1/4 cup liquid egg whites (Egg Beaters) or 1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate pieces

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease four (4 inch) oven-going ramekins (I am guessing the jumbo muffin cups would work just as well). Set aside.
*In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a second bowl, combine the sugar, butter, banana and liquid egg whites. Beat until well combined.
*Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate pieces.
*Divide batter among the four greased ramekins and bake for 18 to 21 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is just lightly soft. Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, if desired, and enjoy warm.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 220 cal., 8 g fat (4.8 g saturated fat), 16 mg chol., 36 g carbohydrate, 17 g sugar, 3.5 g dietary fiber, 4 g protein