Coconut Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies Recipe + Being Able to Eat Butter Again

Today I am sharing with you my favorite gluten free cookie recipe ever. It is the one cookie recipe that I have consistently made time and time again over the past two years since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. It is our go-to cookie recipe.

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Best of all, it’s pretty simple. It doesn’t have a terribly crazy combination of flours, as so many gluten free recipes do. This recipe is also adaptable. I have often run out of one or the other of the flours for the mix, so I replace it with combinations of flours I happen to have on hand. For example, I have often used tapioca starch instead of potato starch, potato flour instead of rice flour, coconut flour instead of sorgum flour (in this case, I use a little less coconut flour, since coconut flour sucks up a lot more moisture than most flours, and is also pretty dense). In the easiest variation of all, I just use a gluten free flour mix and replace all the flours with that. They all taste great, but so far this is my favorite combination ever.

If you’ve been reading this blog consistently, or if you know me, you might know that I have celiac disease. On top of that I am also lactose and soy intolerant. At the time of my diagnoses, I was told that my dairy intolerance was really due to the damage that eating gluten for so long had done to my digestive system. You see, I probably had celiac disease for about 5 years before I actually got diagnosed, and in all that time my diet consisted mostly of bread and cereal (I love love love bread). Because of this my body was a mess, I was unable to tolerate lactose or soy. However my doctor told me that eventually, with the healing of my digestive system through this gluten free diet, I might be able to have dairy again someday. And so I started that day with a gluten free diet, and waited.

So fast forward to nearly two years later: a few months ago my husband, Dane, was dying for some cookies made with real, actual butter. In general, Dane basically lives with as strict a diet as I do, since I don’t bother cooking separate meals for him and I. But Dane, understandably, misses dairy and gluten! Now I’ve started to consistently add real, cow milk, and cottage cheese, and so on to our grocery list. I’m still really hesitant to ever buy wheat bread, or gluten containing foods, since I am SO sensitive to gluten that even a crumb that happened to fall into my food would affect me for a couple weeks. But anyway, back to the cookies. Dane used this same basic recipe that I am sharing with you today, and went to the store to buy butter and cane sugar. He loved what adding butter did to the cookies, though the regular sugar was a bit too much (the only time we ever eat cane sugar is if happens to already be in the food we buy- when baking/cooking, I always used coconut sugar). I was hesitant to try them, even though they were gluten free, because I hadn’t had butter in a couple years. But I knew that eventually I was supposed to be able to have butter, so after a couple days passed I was dying for a cookie so I gave in and tried one. And guess what? I had absolutely. no. reaction. I was eating butter and was just fine!

It is really exciting to experience some visible, tangible progress in this crazy diet and roller coaster health of mine. When I was initially diagnosed with celiac disease, I was totally devastated. How was I ever supposed to eat anything good again? Over time I realized there are a lot of replacement options for gluten free living, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Through a lot of work and research (probiotics, juice cleanses, multi-vitamins, exercise, and most recently, quitting coffee drinking) I have come a long way in becoming and feeling healthier and stronger. But this is one of the most notable milestones yet!

Since that first discovery that I could eat those delicious, buttery cookies, I have continued to experiment with just how much butter I can tolerate. In general, I still need the aid of taking enzymes/probiotics in order to avoid having any discomfort during digestion even with my gluten/dairy/soy free diet. And this applies to butter as well. But as long as I follow my normal routine with eating, it’s not a problem. I have buttered GF bread, I have made french onion soup containing butter, eggplant with butter, cookies with butter… it’s amazing! I still am careful not to go overboard- I try to only have butter a few times a week. I have to be cautious and not rush the (sometimes painfully) slow, but sure progress towards total healing.

So below is my first recipe ever on this blog to contain butter! It has a dairy free option listed right there with it, and it tastes just as delicious when dairy free. I also added milk to my recipe though I’ve only ever made it with an alternative milk (usually coconut milk) since I’m not quite at the milk drinking stage (and not sure if I ever will be). So I can’t say for sure how that will taste (though I can’t possibly see how it would taste bad..I mean, it’s milk).

Enjoy and let me know what you think! What sort of progress have you seen your process toward healing in your life?

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Coconut Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk or alternative milk (coconut, almond, etc)
  • 1 tsp GF vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sorgum flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cup GF oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F

Cream the coconut sugar and butter or coconut oil in a mixer until smooth.

Add the milk and vanilla and mix till blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flours, oat, powders) except for the coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

Combine the dry flour/oat mix with the butter/sugar and mix until it is just combined (but before it turns into a ball of dough).

Add the chocolate chips and coconut flakes and combine.

Roll into cookie shapes onto a greased baking sheet. Makes 12-24 cookies depending on the size you roll them out.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until just slightly golden brown.

Cool and enjoy with some milk!

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Crunchy Coconut Almond Energy Chocolates

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Below is a recipe that was adapted from a recipe I found on this post. It’s made up of a delicious combination of some of my favorite things: chocolate, chia seeds, and coconut oil. I’ve become gradually more and more obsessed with coconut oil, the more I’ve learned about it’s health benefits, and I’m always looking for another good way to eat chia seeds. So when I saw this recipe and found that I could have them both in the form of chocolate, I was excited to try it.

Since I the first time, I’ve made it several times and every time I try different variations, based on the ingredients I have on hand. Below is the most consistent of the basic of those variations.

They’re (almost) raw, refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, energizing, very high in fiber, full of healthy fats, a good source of brain food…the list goes on. And they taste super good, they’re hard to stop eating once you’ve started.

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Coconut Almond Energy Chocolates

Ingredients

  • I cup organic cacao liquor
  • 1 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut sugar according to preference (or honey)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw almonds

Directions

Put the cocoa liquor into a pan set on medium low heat and melt, stirring regularly to keep from sticking or burning.

Add the coconut oil and continue to stir until completely combined with the cocoa liquor.

Add the coconut sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. (Note: When using honey,, it doesn’t need to be dissolved obviously, just mixed in. Honey tastes slightly different and equally delicious, though often a bit sweeter depending on the coconut sugar. I’d recommend trying both!)

Next add the cocoa powder and mix until completely blended.

At this point I turn the stove to the lowest setting, so that the mixture stats melted, but does not start bubbling. This also helps prevent it from burning.

Add the chia and flax seeds and stir to mix.

Add the shredded coconut and stir to mix.

Add the almonds and stir to mix.

Prepare a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. (Note: I recommend parchment paper because then it is easy to pull out the whole mix when it has hardened and cut it on a cutting board. I suppose though, that you could use coconut oil, olive oil, or some other non-stick option, though I have not tried it so I can’t guarantee the results.)

Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan, using a spoon to spread out the ingredients so they are evenly distributed throughout the pan.

Place the pan in refrigerator and leave it there for an hour, or until it hardens.

Once hardened, remove the pan from the fridge. Pull the parchment paper up by the edges (a spatula is sometimes helpful) and you now have a giant chocolate square. Place on a cutting board. Either peel off the parchment paper or just cut over it peeling as you go.

Cut the chocolate into bar-sized pieces (about 2×4 inches or so) according to preference, and enjoy!

To store, put the cut bars into a ziplock bag or Tupperware and keep in the fridge. Be sure they stay in the fridge or they will turn into a messy chocolate puddle.

Good for up to 2 weeks in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer (assuming they last that long.)

 

 

Pizooki’s! (kind of) and Reflections

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The first time I ever saw a dessert recipe with garbanzo beans as the replacement for flour, I was skeptical. That was when my friend Ali posted this recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Since then, that cookie recipe has become an all time favorite in this house, and every person who’s ever happened to be over when I made them was totally impressed and really enjoyed them.

I think that a lot of times people treat recipes kind of like how people treat traditions. You don’t want to change them because…well this is how it’s always been done. The first example that popped into my head actually, was how so many people within churches don’t want to see change in the structure, music, etc., believing that the way things are done (and have been done for the past 80 or so years) are biblicly based. Sometimes upon deeper reflection, it becomes evident that the basis is less Scripture, and more tradition.

So anyway, the point of that silly analogy is this: I’ve come to realize, through my eating restrictions, that I am not actually at all restricted. There are limitless replacements for all the basic staples of baking: flour, eggs, sugar, and milk to name a few. Nearly every plant can be dried and ground to make a flour. There is corn flour, potato flour, garbanzo flour, coconut flour, rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, and more. For every recipe, refined sugars can be replaced with honey, palm sugar, date sugar, coconut sugar, etc. And any visit to the grocery store will reveal the every expanding variety of dairy free milk alternatives.

Discovering I had so many food allergies was one of the most devastating things to ever learn, initially. Yet so much good came out of it. I was forced to get creative, forced to try things I would have never even been interested in, and as a result, my eating habits became immensely, if not extremely, (not to mention accidentally) healthy.

This month is one year exactly since I’ve gone gluten, dairy, soy, and refined sugar free*. I was reflecting on this last week and I realized that these restrictions were ironically liberating. I used to hate food/eating because it was my enemy, I was sick after nearly every meal I ever ate. It is amazing because soon after I found out about my dietary restrictions, I started writing my thesis paper for my undergrad degree on food as a gift. What followed was a major paradigm shift. The synthesis of studying food theology, philosophy, aesthetics, and sociology, while simultaneously in my day to day/meal to meal life practicing new eating habits, I was beginning to have a new experience with food. Food no longer made me sick. Food still actually tasted good. Really healthy food could be more tasteful than anything I’d ever eaten before. (I didn’t actually even set out to eat healthy initially, I just set out to eat something out of all the seemingly “nothing” that I was aloud to eat.) Eating was not only enjoyable, but was right. Humans are made to enjoy this gift.

All this to say, today I came across another desert recipe with garbanzo beans. Desserts like this sound “gross” to some people…which inspires me all the more to make it. It was a recipe for a pan chocolate chip cookie “pie”, but I tweeked it a lot to make it double chocolaty aaaand added “ice cream” to go on top because then it’s like a pizooki! And I haven’t had a real pizooki in like 6 years.

Below are two parts to this post, one with the pan cookie recipe, and the second with the banana chocolate ice cream/cold frosting thing. Enjoy!

*(I’m not actually allergic to refined sugar, so when I’m out and there are allergen free food options with refined sugar ingredients, I do eat them. I just never bake/cook with it.)

Part I: Pan Cookie

Double Chocolate Chip Flour Free Pan Cookie

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15oz) garbanzo/chickpea beans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used flaxmilk)
  • 1 tbs almond extract
  • 3 tbs oil (I used coconut)
  • 6 tbs pure honey
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup coco powder
  • 1 cup oats (certified gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a food processor, blend the garbanzo beans, applesauce, milk, almond extract, oil, and honey and blend until smooth.

Next add the baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder pulsing the food processor between ingredients so as to ensure it is well mixed.

Add the oats and coconut and process again until mixed. Lastly add the chocolate chips and mix.

Scoop/pour mixture into a prepared baking dish (I used a square 8×8 one, but I actually recomend using a slightly bigger one so the cookie batter can be spread thinner, and the final result is more like a cookie and less like a brownie or cake in thickness) and bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.

When it’s finished let it cool for at least 15 minutes so it can set.

Part II: Banana Chocolate “Ice Cream”

There is nothing icey or creamy about this recipe really. I’ve been seeing all these pinterest recipes lately for these easy ice cream or milk shake recipes involving bananas and cocoa powder. While I was making dinner, I thought about how I should have bought some frozen yogurt to go with the chocolaty dessert that I could smell cooking in the oven. Then I remembered that I had two very ripe bananas in the freezer that I’d frozen a few days back to keep from going to waste. There was the answer: the time had come to try one of those pinterest recipes. However, I was too lazy to try and scroll through all the photos, compare recipes, and find the one I had all the ingredients on hand for. I’ve read them plenty of times anyway…so I made this one up and it turned out delicious. Unfortunately, and as per usual, I didn’t really use measuring tools while throwing this together. So in the recipe below I’ve estimated the measurements to the following ingredients.

(Note: In order for the ice cream to be ready in collaboration with the pan cookies, I recommend starting it as soon as the cookie goes in the oven or even before making the cookie)

Banana Chocolate “Ice Cream”

Ingredients:

  • 2 very ripe bananas (frozen or not-this will just affect how long it has to be frozen afterwards to set)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used flaxmilk)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend well until smooth. Pour into a bowl and put in the freezer until firm.

Scoop out like normal ice cream and enjoy over the pan cookie recipe above, or just by itself.

6 Cartons of Strawberries

Yesterday I found myself with 6 cartons of strawberries in the fridge.

On Monday, I wanted to juice some beets that I had, but I hate the taste of beets, so I wanted to juice lots of strawberries with it to cover the flavor. They were buy one get one free so I took two. Tuesday they were a dollar. I never buy strawberries cuz they’re pretty pricey, but on this rare occasion, I bought.. four more cartons. Hence Wednesday=6 cartons strawberries

So yesterday, I got home from work and set out to find some strawberry related recipes, so as to not let the strawberries go to waste. With only Dane and me, 6 cartons of strawberries weren’t just going to disappear overnight, (or before they went bad) without some help. I went a bit crazy. I made strawberry popsicles, strawberry scones, strawberry macaroons ..and then for dinner we had salmon, and strawberry salad.

The salad was amazing.  I don’t usually like salads with fruit in them, they’ve never been my thing. I was really skeptical of this recipe, but hey, I had like a million strawberries to use up, so I decided to try it out. It turned out to be probably the BEST salad I’d ever had. I’m not even really a salad person, but Dane and I were both really really happy with how this one turned out.

The other really exciting part of this salad was that this was the first time our garden had grown enough that that I didn’t have to go to the store for the mixed greens, I just went outside and picked them! The mix included spinach, three kinds of kale, and two kinds of chard. This small delight was so fulfilling.

I was missing some ingredients and added a few from the original recipe I was somewhat following, so below is my adaptation.

Strawberry Season Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mix salad greens of your choice
  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 (or however many you prefer) strawberries, leaves removed and sliced
  • 1/2 of a 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 avacado
  • 1/4 cup sheep cheese grated or cut
  • 2 tbs flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup soy free veganaise
  • 1 tbs red wine vinager
  • 3 drops stevia concentrate

Directions:

Put water in a small pan over the stove and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, put on low heat and simmer for 10 to 15 min. When it’s done, put it in the fridge to cool.

Meanwhile, mix the veganaise, vinager, and stevia in a small bowl and set aside.

Wash salad greens and other vegetables. Sprinkle the black beans, strawberries, and goat cheese over the greens. Add the quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients.

Pour the dressing over it and mix briefly.

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 1-3

Gluten in my…toothpaste?!

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Yesterday I bought some new toothpaste that told me on its packaging that it was gluten free. My first thought was, does toothpaste normally have gluten?? And once again I was blown away by the mass amount of gluten that is found in the most random products. So this blog post is all about my shift that began a few months ago, to not only having a gluten free diet, but also using completely gluten free products.

After going gluten free last May, I immediately felt better within the first few days. Yet, better, I soon realized, was still not quite “good”…whatever that meant. After a few years of feeling sick all the time (migraines, bloating, fatigue, apathy, joint pain, hair thinning, etc, on a daily basis) I had forgotten what it felt like to feel “good.” So it was only when I started to feel better, that I really began searching for every possible way to eat the way I needed to, with the goal of eventually feeling good.

Over the next several months (and this process still continues to this day) I did tons of research, following blogs, reading articles, figuring out what nutrients I was deficient in, taking supplements, making and remaking recipes, trying new ingredients, comparing and contrasting, etc. Surprise after surprise came as I realized just how many things had gluten in them, explaining to me yet again, why I was still feeling sick. For example, I once ate some Hawaian bbq beef, only to realize after taking several bites, that the sauce had teriyaki in it, which has soy sauce in it, which has wheat in it… even though I tried to throw it up, I was sick for the next two weeks. Similarly, my mom always is super excited for me to make Pad Thai and Thai Coconut Curry Soup when I go visit, and one of these times I randomly checked the ingredients to one of the sauces I’d always used, only to see it contained wheat as well! As my researched continued I realized the importance of not eating food that has been contaminated by wheat. So, Dane and I designated the left slot on the toaster for his bread, and the right side for mine. This also began my habit of meticulously wiping down the counter after someone has cut bread, had a cookie, or any gluten containing ingredient that had the possibility if leaving crumbs behind. Also, Dane can’t kiss me after he’s eaten anything containing wheat until he brushes his teeth and has had a lot of water. With each of these gradual changes, I’d say that overall, I’ve steadily been feeling better over the months (especially after the juice cleanse I did in March, which I wrote about here.)

I think a very important factor most recently in my improving health however, has been using gluten free hair and body products. I came across an article (which I now can’t remember the source of unfortunately..) that discussed the presence of gluten in hair and body products. Lots of shampoos, bodywash, lotions, and so on contain gluten ingredients, especially the ones that advertise added proteins, or being volumizing. A lot of shampoos, lotions, and conditioners are not even clearly marked as containing gluten because it is in the fragrances, or the vaguely marked, “other natural ingredients” (or in the case of food, “other natural flavors”). The same day as having read this article ironically, I’d just picked up some organic shampoo from Target. I thought, organic, natural, awesome, but upon reading the ingredients I saw it contained wheat protein as one of the key ingredients…so that was returned. I also read in various places that a lot of powdered make ups have gluten in oat or wheat form. Some supplements and pills even use gluten as a filler or binder. Although its still up in the air the extent to which a gluten intolerant person will be affected by using lotions or shampoo containing wheat, up to 60% of the gluten applied to your skin can be absorbed by the skin and get into the bloodstream. That big of a risk was too much for me, especially since I have celiac disease, I’m not just intolerant. I began a search for healthy, natural, gluten free products. Since the switch, my skin has had better coloring and cleared up a lot, my scalp and hair have not been itchy at all, and overall I have more energy, less headaches, and less stomach aches. I can’t prove that all of this is related, but I do know that everything we put on or in our bodies affect us. So below, I am going to share with you some of what I found.

I contacted Leanne Vogal, author of one of my favorite blogs, Healthful Pursuit. She pointed me to the site for this brand, Green Beaver. They have a line of gluten free products, such as gluten free shampoo and conditioner. I have not tried it, but she recommended it, so I do plan on trying it eventually.

The first shampoo I ended up trying was the Natural Shampoo from Original Sprout. I happened to see it at a small natural foods store, and it was clearly marked on the front as free of parabens, nanoparticles, lavender, tea tree, petroleum oils, musk, propylena, glycol, sulfates, gluten, soy, or dairy. It was a bit pricey (as most gluten free products are, unfortunately) but since I was the only one using it, it lasted me well over a month. I only had to use a small bit (and I have thick hair) and my hair was really clean (but not overly dry). It also had a very enjoyable, clean, subtle scent to it.

The next shampoo that I purchased was from Dessert Essence, who’s products are marked on the back as 100% vegan and wheat/gluten free (as well as biodegradable and cruelty free). I bought the coconut shampoo for normal to dry hair, because I love the smell of coconut. So far, this is a great product as well, and a bit less pricey than the former. I bought mine at Whole Foods, but I’ve seen it at Sprout’s and some grocery stores as well.

The conditioner that I bought, and was really pleased with was Beautiful Curls, leave-in conditioner. This conditioner if marked on the back as wheat, soy and gluten free, vegan, biodegradable, mineral oil free, and synthetic fragrance free. I was quite skeptical of a leave in conditioner, fearing a greasy or “gelled” look. The conditioner was actually great though, my hair didn’t look like I’d gelled it, or like I hadn’t washed it in weeks. This also detangled my ridiculous hair that dreads so easily, far better than most of the conditioners I’d tried before. Not to mention…it smells amazing. After this bottle runs out though, I plan on trying to Dessert Essence conditioner to compare.

From the very beginning of my search I also began looking for gluten free make up. After a lot of searching, I decided to go with Bare Minerals. I’m still not sure if this is the best or the most natural of products out there, but I went with it because I’d used it years before and really enjoyed it, and they have a list on their website of all their gluten free products. I started with this starter kit and so far I’ve been really pleased and my skin has cleared up. I still plan on doing research on the best make up however. Someday I’m also going to try some of these natural make up recipes from the blog “Wellness Mama” found here.

Last but not least, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, I just (accidently) switched to gluten free toothpaste. It is Desert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste. I have no idea if I’d previously used gluten containing toothpaste, but it does make sense, if it was used as a filler. I’d purchased this one because I’d been intending for a while to find a healthy toothpaste option. The Desert Essence toothpaste is also SLS and fluoride free, so that was the initial attraction. I’d also chosen this toothpaste because it contains tea tree and essential oils that work well for people with sensitive teeth, such as my husband, containing healing properties. So this switch was an advantage for both of us.

That’s all for now. I will update this post as I try new things and review them. This slow shift to healthier living in all aspects of my life has been an exciting process. It began in resentment at my food allergies, and has slowly shifted to a more holistic view of nutrition. What we take in affects our mood, health, appearance and attitude. We are made up of body, soul, mind, spirit and so on. It has been amazing to see the actual change in my own personal life in very tangible ways, through living a clean and natural lifestyle. It is well worth all the meticulous planning, research, and planning, in fact, I’m at a point now where I am passionate about nutrition, and enjoy the topic immensely, and I no longer think of it as the terrible and unfair burden that I saw it as at the beginning of it all.