Sugar Cookie Bars Without the Sugar!

sugar cookie bars2

Can you imagine, Sugar Cookies without the added sugar!?  Well that’s what I’ve made for you today. I’m always looking for new challenges in my baking… gluten free, grain free, paleo, vegan, no added sugar… I’m pretty ridiculous sometimes! But I do it because I love making favorite foods healthy. My latest challenge? Sugar Cookies. How in the world do you make sugar cookies without sugar?

Let’s just say I made the attempt once. The dough went into the oven looking and tasting delicious but when those cookies came out… Jump back! Not only did they taste terrible, they also had a weird greenish tint… Happy to report that these cookies went in and out of the oven tasting  every bit as delicious as they look. Bonus, these cookies will satisfy a picky sweet tooth without the damaging effects of refined sugars.

Sugar Cookie BarsWhy am I harping on sugar so much? Well because this sweet ingredient is largely to blame for America’s health issues including obesity, diabetes and widely considered to be the cause of heart disease and many common cancers… that sweet substance isn’t sounding so sweet, is it? Did you know that the average American consumes about 150 pounds of sugar per year? Compare that to approximately 47 pounds per year consumed in the 1900s. It’s no wonder over half of Americans are expected to be obese by 2030.

So what can we do about it? Let’s begin by taking the advice of the World Health Organization and limiting our daily sugar intake to less than 6 teaspoons per day (24 grams). So begin reading those labels folks. [1 can of Coke has 39g soda; 28g in a Red Bull or Monster Energy drink; 15g in Vitamin Water; and approximately 64g in the average Starbucks latte].

To help you in your pursuit of better health, I’ve whipped up a tasty dessert to share with you all sans the addition of sugar, agave, maple syrup, cane sugar, honey, fructose (or any other cleverly named sugar…). Satisfy your sweet tooth with this deliciously healthy sweet treat!


Sugar Cookie Bars


  • 1/3c Tigernut flour
  • 2/3c Coconut flour
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 1 plantain
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1/4c coconut oil
  • 1/4c non-dairy milk
  • *optional stevia to sweeten

sugar cookie bars2Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8×8 baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, sift together your dry ingredients. [I’ve not tested any other flours… if you have any luck, let me know!]. Set dry ingredients aside.

In a blender, mix together the rest of your ingredients until you have a smooth mixture. Pour the contents of the blender into your dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Press your batter into the baking pan. [This is not your typical batter, it’s thick and maybe a bit crumbly].

Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven to cool. Allow the cookie bars to cool for 10 minutes or so to set before indulging in this deliciousness. I frosted mine up with a nice slather of coconut butter!new welli dessert logo

Creamy Cranberry Frosting

Cranberry cream3

Cranberry cream3

What’s that? You still have cranberries to use? Darn those 2 for $5 deals on cranberries. But never fear, this cranberry frosting is the perfect addition to any dessert… cause Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without dessert! So aside from stringing cranberries and popcorn to decorate your trees this holiday or make your cranberry sauce, reap the many benefits of cranberries through dessert with…. Cranberry Cream!


  • 1c Cranberries
  • 1/2c coconut butter
  • 1t lemon juice
  • 2-4T non-dairy milk (use more or less depending on how thick you want it)
  • *optional stevia or 2T maple syrup to sweeten


Using a food processor.. process your ingredients until creamy… that’s it. Simple, right?

Cranberry Cream





How to survive this Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Sweet Potato CupcakesThanksgiving is coming and you know what that means…Time to give thanks for family, friends and good health, of course! So how do you keep the over stuffing to the birds? Try to keep the focus on the company you’re with and not the delicious food that’s before you. If all else fails, maybe these tips will help you out!

Pass on the rolls – The stuffing and the rolls are kids stuff and will leave you feeling  overstuffed, tired, and groggy. There are a great many reasons to avoid gluten but for now, save your energy for the real food. If you have a real carb craving, reach for the sweet potatoes or yams.

sp cupcakesDouble up on the sides – You might be surprised to see how quickly your plate fills up! Broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, oh my! Give yourself an extra scoop of veggies (your plate should be about 65-75% vegetables).

Watch your alcohol intake – Let’s face it, a great deal of you (myself included) will indulge a bit with the wine and spirits, and that’s okay. But try to keep it to one or two drinks because alcohol damages your beautiful brain cells and leads to premature aging and weight gain. So drink responsibly and remember to have one glass of water with every drink!

Be a great guest – If you’re worried you won’t find enough healthy options at the table that will leave you feeling satisfied, bring something yourself! Bring a deliciously healthy side dish (or two) to share like roasted carrots, savory squash or even dessert!.

Most importantly, enjoy this Thanksgiving and forget counting calories – count your blessings!new welli dessert logo

Chocolate Chip Cookies & the Microbiome

Choco Chip Cookies

There’s always something new to learn when it comes to health and nutrition. What is the latest buzzword you might be hearing around town? Well it might just be “microbiome”… or the human microbiome to be more specific. Let me fill you in on some of the basics you should understand and then I’ll finish it up with a yummy chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Choco Chip CookiesSo what is the microbiome? Mostly bacteria actually. Each persons microbiota consists 10-100 TRILLION microbial cells harbored in the gut, and again, mostly bacteria.That means the bacteria in your gut outnumber your cells 9 to 1!  The microbiome consists of the genes these cells hold. The genes within your microbiome outnumber your personal genome 150 to 1. So in case you were wondering, the microbiome is kind of a big deal, especially since this seeming small part of your being (i.e. the gut) controls so much of what your body does.

We commonly think of bacteria as a bad thing, but now that you understand that bacteria comprise much of what we are, it’s not too far fetched to tell you that these bacteria play a roll in most bodily functions. The microbiome is responsible for everything from digesting food, to regulating your metabolism, to controlling your immune system, your mood and even your mental acuity. So all in all, the microbiome is not a fad, and I will continue to shed more light on this topic for you in the next several weeks.

For now, here’s a fabulous Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I cooked up for you! Completely free of the gluten and junk that typically gunk up our systems.

Choco Chip cookies2

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan, Gluten free, Grain free, Paleo


  • 1/3c coconut flour
  • 1/3c arrowroot starch
  • 1/4c almond flour
  • 1/4c flax meal
  • 1c applesauce
  • 1c non-dairy milk
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1/3c cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
  • *Optional 1T blackstrap molasses; stevia to sweeten


Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together your dry ingredients. Next, begin to stir in the wet ingredients. Finally add the cacao nibs (or chocolate chips). The dough will be very thick. Scoop batter onto a parchment lined baking tray in general cookie shapes and note that these cookies do not spread. Bake 18-22 minutes.

When finished, let the cookies cool a bit before nibbling away!

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Should we all be Gluten free?


Some of you know my story. Ten years ago, I became very ill and doctors immediately wanted be to take various pharmaceuticals of which I am not a big fan (more on that reason to come). Instead, I found a doctor open to my more holistic lifestyle and he recommended I begin by removing gluten from my diet. Wouldn’t you know it, my body finally began to recover! *thunderous applause*

bean there2It would appear that similar to 19,000 people in the world (and growing), I am also very sensitive to gluten. And while I have more of a physical reaction than most people, no one is able to digest gluten. That’s right, no one can digest the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye… That’s not just here say, it’s science. There is not a human protein digestive enzyme produced by the liver or pancreas that is able to break down gluten. But believe me, you’ll survive without it. I’m 10 years gluten free and going stronger than ever!

Blueberry Cream Pie

Aside from the fact that your body doesn’t digest it, it can actually “erode” your stomach. Similar to snake skin, your stomach linking also sheds. The more it has to work to shed or eliminate toxins such as gluten the more permeable it becomes. This is often referred to as leaky gut. The bigger issue with gluten is that it makes you vulnerable to, and accelerates in the development of, autoimmune diseases such as Crohns disease and Hashimoto disease. Gluten is also closely linked to ADD, ADHD, depression and thyroid disorders, as well as, Autism and Aspergers, even alzeimers. The list of diseases associated with gluten is lengthy to say the least, but then again, 90% of your immune system is in your gut, so it only stands to reason what you put in your gut can and will affect you.

veggie burger1So how much gluten is safe? None. Sorry, but no amount of gluten is good for you. BUT this is not a “death sentence” of any sort. There are plenty of products that are naturally gluten free, so you can still have your cake… or cookie or pizza… and eat it, too! In fact, all of my recipes (including those pictured) are gluten free!

Make a sandwich with yummy coconut butter!
Make a sandwich with yummy coconut butter!

Blueberry Cream Pie & the Truth on Fat

Blueberry Cream Pie

For years, we’ve been told “eat low fat, eat whole grains, etc” and while there may be some truth in those guidelines, what’s wrong with eating full fat foods like avocados and coconut oil? Better question, why are we trying to avoid these superfoods? [Jump to the end if you just want the Blueberry Cream Pie recipe]

blueberry cream1

Fat makes you fat – let’s just put this false claim to rest, fat does not make you fat . Many of these healthy fats we’ve done our best to avoid actually help with your weightloss efforts. But for more than vanity’s sake, let’s consume these foods for the sake of our mental health. Since the “low-fat craze” caught on in the United States, degenerative diseases such as parkinson’s and alzheimer’s have

Healthy fats (i.e. avocado and coconut oil) can do so much more for your brain health. Your brain is well over 60% fat, so it only makes sense that we should nourish those fat stores.  Gobbling up guacamole to help carry blood and oxygen to the brain doesn’t sound like a difficult task, right?  [click here for a link to some of my favorite avocado recipes].

Cheesy Kale & Artichoke Dip
Cheesy Kale & Artichoke Dip

My favorite fatty food is coconut! Coconut oil is, more specifically, comprised of 65% MCTs (or medium chain triglycerides). This type of fat, unlike your typical fat, completely bypasses your bile and digestive process and instead, is released by the liver in the form of ketones.  These ketones then make their way through the bloodstream to your brain and have been shown to not only maintain cognitive help but may actually improve brain function!

Just some food for thought, and while you think about it, here’s a healthy treat you might enjoy (with plenty of healthy fat).

blueberry cream2

Blueberry Cream Pie

(vegan, grainfree, glutenfree, paleo, low sugar)


  • 1 1/2c mixed nuts (I used hazelnuts, walnuts & almonds)
  • 3/4c pitted medjool dates


  • 1c cashews (soaked; use almonds for paleo)
  • 4T coconut butter
  • 2T coconut oil
  • 1t lemon juice
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 10oz. blueberries
  • 2-4T full fat coconut milk (though water will work, too)


To make the crust, place the nuts in a food processor and grind until you have a fine meal. Careful not to make nut butter! As the machine is running begin to add in the pitted dates. Press this mixture into a pie or springform pan and set in the fridge.

For the cream filling… you’ll love how simple this is…. put all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender or processor and blend till smooth! Pour the cream batter into the pie crust and store in the in the refrigerator or freezer.

When you’re hungry for this delicious pie, just pull it out of the freezer to thaw twenty minutes prior to serving.

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Maple Walnut Blondies and Grain Free Living

maple blondies 3

Now that Autumn has commenced, something has gone off in my lady brain and I must now take in all the aspects of Fall that I possibly can. Sundays will be from here on out dedicated to church and football viewing (go Seahawks!); pumpkin will be  in darn near every meal, and the smell of cinnamon will saturate the air until Christmas…at which time all things peppermint will take over.

maple blondies4

So on this not so bright and sunny day, I am whipping up warm Maple Walnut Blondies. I love when my kitchen is warm and cozy and filled with the delicious aroma of maple.

I’ve thrown myself an additional challenge (because gluten free, low sugar and vegan just isn’t enough). This month, I’ve been challenging myself to avoid grains completely! I know, it’s crazy, but people like Abel James (The Fat Burning Man), Dave Asprey (Bulletproof Exec) and Gary Taubes (author of The Grain Brain) are throwing out some crazy ideas that I thought I’d experiment with… I’ll let you know more about the research and my personal experiment as I learn and grow. So what am I replacing these grains with? FAT! Delicious, savory, and oh-so-healthy fat; particularly coconut oil. And what better way to celebrate this new food adventure than with dessert!

maple blondies2

Maple Walnut Blondies

(Gluten free, Grain free, vegan, no added sugar, pretty dang tasty!)



Preheat the oven to 300°F and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper or lightly grease with coconut oil.

In a blender, puree the very ripe plantain with the other wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift together your dry ingredients (except the walnuts). Now pour your puree into the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well combined. Mix in the walnuts (or don’t, your choice).

Make a sandwich with yummy coconut butter!
Make a sandwich with yummy coconut butter!

Pour the batter into your 8X8 pan and place in the oven. Let bake for 45min. Let the blondies cool before slicing into their deliciousness!

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