Thursday, October 3, 2013

Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

So chocolate chip cookies are my favorite cookie, in particular with lots of dark chocolate, pecans or walnuts, and made with salted butter with a sprinkle of sea salt on top. I love salt. I love dark chocolate.  I love butter.

With the whole clean eating thing, I can't exactly have my normal choco chip that I love, or these, since I can't yet control myself and would probably eat the entire batch in bed, falling asleep to chocolate-y, chewy goodness and a stomach ache. So I googled "clean" desserts and I ran across recipes for cookies that use nut butters, natural sugar, and no flour or butter. Um, yes. Please. No need to search for any other desserts because I could just make variation after variation of these cookies and be a happy and satisfied lady.  I first experimented with baking peanut butter cookies using this formula, with a couple of comfort blanket tweeks, like using half white sugar and half brown and honey roasted peanut butter, and my peanut butter hating hubs LOVED them, as did my coworkers.

Since I had company last night, I made a dark chocolate clean version with almond butter and they were soooo yummy.  They are definitely up there with my salted butter ones.  And to think a cookie made without butter and flour would make it to the top of my cookie list!  We polished off an entire batch.  That's how awesome these cookies were, yeah, awe-inspiring delicious.  Even though these cookies are not unhealthy, they still contain sugar, which in the long run...well, you know. But enjoy! Bake these once in a while when you can't be cheating and a want a better alternative.  They are worth it and a great substitute. Or make them for a gluten-free or food sensitive friends! I promise, they'll shed a tear of joy.

The cookie batter will look oily because of the almond butter, but once they come out of the oven and are slightly cooled, they are chewy, have a subtle hint of almonds, and are divinely chocolate-y.  Please try them and let me know what you think!  Next time I make the peanut butter cookies, I will post those up as well!

Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

1 cup creamy almond butter
2/3 cup sucanat (dehydrated cane sugar), or raw sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 oz. dark chocolate bar, beaten into chunks (70% cocoa or more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix almond butter with the sucanat until combined.  Add the egg, vanilla, baking soda, and sea salt.  Mix well.  Stir in the chocolate chunks.  Again, the batter will look oily and look as if it's going to fall apart, but believe in your cookies.  They will turn out properly!

Drop by the tablespoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.  Let them cool for a bit on the baking sheet until they've set up.  And then nom, nom, nom!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cajun Mahi Mahi with Smashed Jalapeno and Garlic Sweet Potatoes

I've started a clean eating challenge with my sister's help where I eat only whole, non-processed food, with no cheating for a few weeks.  This coupled with exercise should help me shed a few pounds and/or inches in a healthy way and hopefully keep it off!  Then eventually in a few weeks, I can add in a cheat day here and there, not everyday or every other day, but maybe once a week.

It's day 8 and I'm feeling pretty great and I'm not really craving as much as I used to.  It hasn't been too difficult keeping up with the healthy eating habits, but it has been a challenge with the willpower and fitting in my workouts. What's been helpful is putting together a meal plan for the week and hitting the gym first thing in the morning before work.  On Sunday we have been getting groceries and then based on what we've purchased, I put together meals for the week.  This includes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. I followed last week's carefully, and this week it's already become a habit.  We go to bed early most of the time, but I make it a clear point now to avoid any late nights so I can wake up in time for the gym.  Gotta make those sacrifices. I have definitely had a few "pat myself on the back" moments, even if they were small, like taking off that extra slice of thin cheese off my sandwich, or not ordering a calorie laden drink, and avoiding even a bite of pizza while watching the Texans lose.  If I'm gonna have those things, I'm going to make them count by eating the cheesiest pizza and having the coldest and tastiest drink I can and enjoy them fully on my cheat day.  But until I feel like I can handle a cheat and not fall off the wagon, I have to power through and make this a lifestyle.  The hubs and my sister are great motivators and keep me going and are the only ones I can show my progress pics to.  Because frankly, they are awkward half naked selfies.

Our dinners for the most part have not included any bread or rice, maybe the occasional whole wheat or corn tortilla, but mainly it's a meat and two veggies.  Hubs and I love our veggies.

I made cajun seasoned mahi mahi the other night and served it on top of jalapeno and garlic smashed sweet potatoes and along side were our favorite roasted green beans.  It was my first time cooking mahi and mahi and I'm not sure we are huge fans.  It's too "meaty" for our liking when it comes to fish.  We like the flakiness of salmon much better.  The taste was good and we finished our meals, but I think we will lay off the purchase of more mahi mahi for a while.

The sweet potatoes.  Yum.  I boiled the sweet potatoes with jalapeno and garlic cloves and mashed it all together into a merry union of creamy delicious-ness.  You do not need any butter or cream or sour cream or milk or any other dairy in these potatoes to make them creamy!  However, any and all of those things in my sweet potatoes, or yours, would be amazing.

Cajun Mahi Mahi:

2 filets of Mahi Mahi fish
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Cajun Seasoning (your favorite, with no salt added)
Canola Cooking Spray

Season the filets with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning on both sides.  Heat a medium skillet to about medium to medium high and spray with cooking oil.  Cook the filets on both sides, for about 5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.  You want the fish to cook to an opaque white.  Don't overcook it! Remember, it's fish.


Smashed Jalapeno Garlic Sweet Potatoes:

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, diced into same size chunks
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and de-veined to your heat level, chunked
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Boil the potatoes with the jalapeno and garlic cloves until potatoes are fork tender.  Drain, reserving just a tiny bit of water in the pot.  Smash up the potatoes with the cloves and jalapeno inside, add salt and pepper to taste.  If you did not leave enough liquid in the pot to get a good consistency, add some broth, or other liquid.  I had left just enough to get them to be the creamy that we liked.


The different looks of appetizing in insta form.