Holiday Baking

I’ve said time and time again, I am not a baker.  I’m more of a create things on the fly, see if this flavor works with that one, throw a little more of this in there, wibbly-wobbly home cook.

You can’t be a wibbly-wobbly baker.Holiday Baking | Life Healthfully Lived

Baking is a science and if you put too much of one thing or not enough of the other, you end up with a pile of inedible mush.  Trust me.  I know from experience.

But something about Christmas time makes me put on my big girl baking pants and bust out baked good after baked good.  I usually pick one day and spend the whole day making cookies, candies, bars, cakes, and even a few pies.  My kitchen is a disaster afterwards, but I end up with quite the mountain of sweet treats.  Which leads me to my question for the day:

What do you do with all of those baked goods?Holiday Baking | Life Healthfully Lived

The fat kid in me wants to shove them all in my mouth at once and wash it down with a big ol’ glass of eggnog.  Dairy-free of course.  Come on, I’m not an unhealthy beast.  I can almost justify this gluttony with the fact that I make “healthy” treats.  I don’t use refined sugar, I try to use real food ingredients where I can, and most of my baking is done without dairy.

But they are still treats.  Desserts.  Sweet things.Holiday Baking | Life Healthfully Lived

And you can overdo it even with “healthy” treats.  Eating one cookie can lead to eating five cookies, can lead to eating all the desserts.  Again, trust me.  I know from experience.  I’ve also gone to the other extreme and completely refrained from eating any treats at all.  That is almost as damaging because you feel like you’re missing out and overeat on everything else.

Plus, what fun are the holidays without some Christmas cookies?

So, in my household, I try to strike a good balance.  I still go on my big Christmas bake-a-thon, and I still eat a few of my favorites, but then I share the wealth.  I send some with Adam to take to work.  I give some to friends and family.  The building supervisor and neighbors get a tin of treats and I bring some along to family gatherings.  That way I’m not tempted to turn into the Christmas cookie monster and I still get to enjoy the fun of holiday baking.Holiday Baking | Life Healthfully Lived

I also make sure that the rest of my diet is in balance during this time of year.  I try to get as much water as I can, eat plenty of vegetables, and keep up with my normal fitness routine.

Because Christmas doesn’t have to be an all or nothing time of year.  You don’t have to feel guilty about eating a cookie and you don’t have to feel the shame of eating all the cookies.  Find a balance that works for you and just enjoy the season!Holiday Baking | Life Healthfully Lived

How do you handle your sweet treats this time of year?

Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now

I don’t know about you, but I had a pretty great weekend.  It was filled with family, laughs, and covered bridges.  Adam and I spent the weekend in Brazil, Indiana and I got to experience the covered bridge festival for the first time.

Yes, there was a covered bridge.  There was also a ton of food, crafty things, and pretty much anything else you could think of.  I had a good time and was glad for the time to relax. Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now | Life Healthfully Lived

So while covered bridges have made me happy, I thought I would share a few other things that are making me happy right now.

Changing Leaves

It felt like fall would never really come this year.  For most of October, our neighborhood has been surrounded by green leaves and summertime vibes.  Just in the past week or so we have finally had leaves falling and changing color.  I love how pretty this city gets in the fall!

Fall Running PaceThings That Are Making Me Happy Right Now | Life Healthfully Lived

I love the beginning of fall and the cooler temps because it means I run even faster than normal.  I can’t seem to slow down for the first few weeks of fall running and that’s just fine with me.  I love feeling like I’m flying down the Lake Shore Trail.

New Quilted Sheet SetThings That Are Making Me Happy Right Now | Life Healthfully Lived

This is how I know that I’m an adult.  I am super excited about a brand sheet set.  This was a covered bridge find and an early birthday present (12 days and counting).  I have been wanting to change up our bedspread for awhile now to something more bright and cheery.  I love the grey and yellow together and I think that Dot approves as well.

All The BakingThings That Are Making Me Happy Right Now | Life Healthfully Lived

Now that it isn’t torture to turn on the oven, baking all the things can commence.  I am not a strong baker, so I am always trying to improve.  I gave you some carrot cake cookies last week and I’m working on a fall banana bread for you guys this week.  You can also check out my cranberry coffee cake over on Girlish.  Yay baked goods!

Kuri Squash

I am all about fall/winter squash and I’m always excited to try new to me varieties.  I found this one at Whole Foods the other day and figured I would give it a go.  Whelp, now I’m obsessed with it.  I love that you don’t have to peel it, just scoop out the seeds, cut into chunks, and roast it at 425 with a little oil and your favorite seasonings.  It’s creamy and a little sweet like butternut squash.  I bet it would be great in soup or my gnocchi.

The CubsThings That Are Making Me Happy Right Now | Life Healthfully Lived

I was born a Cubs fan and have always hoped that maybe next year would be their year.  It’s looking like 2015 could be it… I will be cautiously optimistic and just keep rooting for my Cubbies.


I don’t know why but turning 28 is sounding pretty good to me.  I think there are some good things in store for my 28th year on this big blue marble we call Earth.  Can’t wait to see what they are…

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies

RememberCarrot Cake Breakfast Cookie | Life Healthfully Lived those cookies I made for my cream cheese frosting?  Well, you can stop wondering about them.

I know this is the time of year that pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere.  Coffee, cookies, bread, muffins, oatmeal, stew, candles, air fresheners…. You get the idea.  Don’t get me wrong, pumpkin is awesome.  I have a whole shelf in my closet dedicated to my stock of pumpkin.  But it isn’t the only fall produce that deserves some love.

Carrots are a really versatile vegetable.  Kind of like pumpkin, they do well in sweet and savory dishes.  While I do love a good carrot soup or stew, carrot cake is where it’s at for me. Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookie | Life Healthfully Lived

These carrot cake cookies are more of a breakfast type cookie because they aren’t super sweet.  You can make it a little more decadent by turning it into a cream cheese frosting and carrot cake cookie sandwich.  Believe me, it’s delicious.

Leave the frosting off and you have a healthy breakfast cookie that’s lightly sweetened with raisins and a little maple syrup.  A cookie for breakfast?  Now that’s the dream!

Carrot Cake Breakfast CookieCarrot Cake Breakfast Cookie | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 cup regular oats, not instant
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp flax
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Mix the flax seed and water together and set aside.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine the raisins and coconut oil until you have a smooth paste.  Add the shredded carrots and pulse a few more times.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the carrot mixture and pulse until everything is mixed together.
  5. Scoop out about a tablespoon or so and slightly flatten them into discs and place on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the cookies are slightly brown around the edges.  Let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

That’s it!  Keep them in an airtight container and they should last about a week, longer if you put them in the fridge. Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookie | Life Healthfully Lived

Do you have any fun plans for this weekend?  Adam and I are headed to Brazil (Indiana, not the country) to spend some time with his folks at the covered bridge festival.  It will be nice to spend time with family and just relax!

Lemon Pistachio Cookies


A few weeks ago I found pistachios on sale and on a whim bought about a pound.  I wanted to do something with them other than just shove them all into my mouth, which was my first instinct.  Since I had access to a Vitamix at the time I of course turned those pistachios into pistachio butter.  I had never had pistachio butter before and it was delicious.  It had a nice light flavor to it and I thought it would be good in some baked goods.

There are a ton of recipes out there for peanut butter cookies and almond butter cookies, but not that many using pistachio butter.  I decided to remedy that and made these lemon pistachio cookies.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think I knocked it out of the park on these ones.  They are the perfect cookie for springtime. The are light and the hit of lemon adds a nice freshness to them.  I added in a little bit of coconut for some texture but it doesn’t overwhelm the cookie with a coconut flavor.


If you don’t have pistachio butter on hand, you can make these with almond butter or cashew butter.  I wouldn’t use peanut butter though because I think it would overwhelm the lemon flavor.  Ok enough talk more cookie.

Lemon Pistachio Cookie- Makes 12-15 cookies


  • 1/2 cup pistachio butter (almond butter or cashew butter would also work)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (if you like a sweeter cookie add in another tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a small bowl mix together all the wet ingredients.  Add in the shredded coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and lemon zest.  Combine everything.  It will seem really wet and like it won’t stick together but don’t worry that is fine.
  3. On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, scoop out about a tbsp of the dough. Spread it out a little with the back of a spoon as these cookies won’t rise.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  The cookies are done when the edges just start to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.


One word of caution, these cookies can go from being perfect to burnt really quick if you don’t watch them.  I would suggest checking at the 10 minute mark especially if your oven runs hot.  Nothing is worse than a burnt batch of cookies.  Not that that stops me from eating them….


Have a great Friday and enjoy the cookies!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Even though it’s not officially fall, let’s face it, it’s time for all things fall.  I love everything about fall.  The weather, the leaves, the football, but most of all, the pumpkins.  Yes, everyone goes gaga over all things pumpkin and pumpkin flavored this time of year, but my love for pumpkin is year round.  I have a stock of canned pumpkin in my closet and all my pumpkins on display all year long.  Most of the candles I own are pumpkin scented and I may have 3 things of pumpkin hand wash stocked up.  With this adoration of pumpkins, I thought it was time to put up a pumpkin cookie recipe.  These are easy to put together and taste like fall in cookie form.  Enjoy!


Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie 


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (could also use coconut flour)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup tahini (ground sesame seeds)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • heaping 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


1.  Preheat the oven to 350

2.  Mix together all the dry ingredients ad set aside.  In a separate bowl. mix all the wet ingredients until well combined.  Add the wet to the dry and use a spatula to combine.

3. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, drop a teaspoon of dough on the sheet and flatten lightly with your fingertips.  The dough will be sticky so be gentle.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are brown around the edges.  Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes and then move to a cooling rack.


You’re about twenty minutes away from a delicious fall dessert!  Feel free to add in raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, or even chocolate chips if you wanted.  Just mix them in after the dough comes together.  These could even constitute as a healthy breakfast cookie and who can say no to cookies for breakfast?

You thought I was kidding about the pumpkins

You thought I was kidding about the pumpkins