This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. All opinions are my own.
After several attempts and many (many) soupy cookies made (and eaten…we’re not crazies), I’m happy to say that I’ve finally created a healthier No Bake cookie recipe!! While these cookies are known by many names (no bakes, stove tops, cow pies, Raggedy Robins), they’ve always been synonymous with SNOW DAYS in my family. It snows, you make Stove Tops. That’s just what you do. This tradition can be both good and bad – good for the soul but bad for the hips. The original recipe isn’t exactly healthy.
Welp. It snowed last week.
So….cookies were needed.
What’s a girl with hips to do??
I knew I wanted to create a healthier version and it still TASTE like the real cookie. Honestly, I didn’t want to sub in bananas or applesauce or add chia seeds or flax. I’d rather eat fewer cookies and have them taste good than completely change up the recipe, so I simply made a few changes to the original. For example, I subbed in natural peanut butter (versus Jif or Skippy that has added sugar) and I reduced the amount of butter and sugar (the sugar is actually cut in HALF and they still taste amazing AND set up!!!). I also used 100% cacao cocoa to give the cookies an added antioxidant punch.
If you’ve made these cookies before, you’ll know that they’re extremely TEMPERAMENTAL. If even the slightest thing is off, they’ll either get too hard or be a soupy mess. I’m happy to say that even with the substitutions I made, they still set up perfectly.
One of the best changes I made was substituting Blue Diamond Almond Breeze for the cow’s milk. Lactose tends to cause me belly issues so I’ve tried to limit the amount of dairy I get (probably for the past three years or so). Blue Diamond’s unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk has just 30 calories in each cup (!!!!) and ZERO grams of sugar (to compare, a cup of whole milk contains 100 calories and 17 grams of sugar). I don’t know about you but that can really change up the nightly bowl of cereal.
Or in this case, you can eat more cookies ….which is always a good thing.
Healthier No Bake Cookies
3/4 stick of butter
1 cup of sugar
3 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup Blue Diamond Almond unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 cups quick oats
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder and almond milk in a saucepan. Heat to boiling. Allow to boil (rolling boil) for 2 minutes. Take them off the heat. Add in peanut butter, oats and vanilla. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Allow to set up for 30 minutes. Enjoy with a glass of almond milk! ;)
QUESTION: Ever had “No Bakes”? What do YOU call them? Other ways you substitute almond milk in recipes (I’m all ears)?
Since the big game is this coming Sunday, let’s talk football today, shall we? Or rather, let me tell you how little I actually know about the sport.
Lindsay’s Football Facts
1) Football was invented in 1609 when two dueling countries decided to fight over an actual pig. Hence the name, “pigskin” when we’re talking about the football*.
2) The quarterback on every team must meet the following criteria or be kicked out of the league: 1) be “Nebraska-handsome”, 2) must date a super-model or actress and 3) must use the phrase “my hands are my work” in at least one conversation a day*.
*I actually have no idea how football got started or if “Nebraska-handsome” is a thing…(but it should be). My mother uses the phrase, “My hands are my work!” when she doesn’t want to do manual labor. She’s a dental hygienist so I guess it kinda makes sense.
Blue Diamond Almond recently sent me some of their Wasabi & Soy Sauce and Smokehouse almonds to try out. Umm…YUM to both flavors!! Then they challenged me to come up with a GAME DAY snack in preparation for the big game on Sunday. True to my core, I chose the easiest recipe I could and made some fun substitutions. After playing around for at least 5 minutes in the kitchen, Creamy Smokehouse Chicken Dip was born. It’s PERFECT for your football crowd – tangy, creamy and packed with protein! The finely chopped almonds add flavor and a little bit of texture. We ate our dip with Blue Diamond Nut Thins and celery sticks.
Give it a go (and then get over here and fill me in on this football stuff).
Creamy Smokehouse Chicken Dip
- 1 rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
- 1/2 can of Blue Diamond Almond Smokehouse almonds, finely chopped
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I love using greek cream cheese – higher protein content)
- 3/4 cup light ranch dressing
- 3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Texas Pete)
- 1/2 cup barbeque sauce
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in chopped almonds, cream cheese, ranch dressing and bbq sauce. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture into an 8×8 pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 12-15 minutes. Before serving, top with any remaining almonds you have. Serve with celery sticks and/or chips. <-Blue Diamond happens to make a SMOKEHOUSE Nut Thin but I couldn’t find it at the store I went to so I used their Sea Salt flavor – still great!
QUESTION: Will you be watching the big game on Sunday? What are you making as far as food goes (and can we come over?)?
I feel silly even typing this “recipe” out.
Like I’m hanging my head in shame.
You see – I’m a simple cook (I’m use that term loosely) and I was raised by the best. Growing up, we always had a hot meal and we ate at the table together as a family. My mama (God bless her) can cook two things well and about four things that are edible. I have the best memory of this one time that she made chuckwagon steaks (like frozen, fried patties of meat), burned them, put them on white buns, and served them with tator tots for dinner one night. As soon as she dished up the plates, my daddy (who was raised by one of the best cooks I’ve ever known) just laughed and laughed at this dinner. My daddy loves my mom so he grinned through every burnt bite. A story we still talk about to this day (along with the time she threw his scrambled eggs out into the yard because he complained…but that’s a story for a different day…). Anyway, I am my mother’s twin when it comes to the cooking thing. We just can’t…so we don’t.
But this dish…this dish I can do (and I do do at least once a week ). I’ve perfected all the measurements and cooking times and I feel like this is MY dish. The dish my children will tell all their friends about on the school yard.
My daddy’s grinning so big right now.
CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND BEANS*
4-6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2-3/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Texas Pete (or other hot sauce of choice)
1 can (16oz) black beans, rinsed
Place chicken, bbq sauce and hot sauce into a crockpot. Cook on low for 4 hours. Shred chicken using two forks, pulling apart the meat. Stir in the drained black beans.
*We like this chicken as a main dish with a few sides, in quesadillas or atop a big salad. Find what works for your family!
QUESTION: Can you cook? Bake? Do you enjoy it? <-no
Hey. Hi. Hey-o!
I don’t have a whole bunch of time (about to head downstairs and train my MoveMore groups) but I wanted to sit down for a second and document some of the FOOD that we’ve been consuming around here lately. Yesterday marked the end of a little mini-challenge that I had with myself (the 10-day Advocare Challenge for Nursing Moms if you’re interested) so we’ve been eating A LOT of green things. Since our food color for the month of December was mostly brown…chocolate brown…a little green in the month of January was more than needed. Lots of salads, eggs, crockpot chicken and green smoothies were consumed. Travis and I both feel WAY better and plan to continue this green streak for a little while longer (aka I won’t be making brownies today…maybe this weekend ).
A little look at what’s been going down:
The biggest container of spring mix I’ve ever seen.
Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter on a sweet potato…try it!
Crockpot Chicken (I need to share this recipe ASAP – we eat it at least once a week) and BBQ-flavored Good Beans
I can’t get enough of this Nikki’s Coconut Butter. It’s good on everything but best on warm/hot items as the oil tends to solidify when cold. Just a heads up for when you buy it because you should!
I love shrimp! I cooked these in a little Kerrygold butter and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute.
Told ya. Love it!
QUESTION: What’s your favorite VEGETABLE?? <-I like spinach only because it’s so versatile. But a roasted brussel sprout wins my heart.
This is probably the millionth resolution-type post that you’ve read this week but I need to write it out so I’m more apt to stick to some of the diet cleanup that I’m doing over here. If this isn’t your thing, skip it and come back tomorrow. Judging by the billion dollar weight loss and diet pill industry, I’m guessing that there’s at least a few of you out there who will read any post with the word “diet” in the title. I get that. I kept US Weekly in business for many years solely based on the cover pictures of celebrities claiming to have lost a few pounds on some miraculous diet. I get it.
Let me first say that I’m not “going on a diet.” That’s not for me. It might be for you and I applaud you (maybe) but the minute I say that certain foods are off limits, the more and more I can’t stop obsessing over them. For me, diets lead to very destructive behaviors. I’m also not counting calories or tracking my foods. After years of disordered eating, I just can’t. I just WON’T.
But….Travis and I were kinda starting to turn into Sugar Zombies. (you don’t want to be one of those, I assure you.)
After the holidays and with the start of the blank-page-new-year feel, we needed to start eating more vegetables. Or any vegetables. I’ll tell you – my biggest craving has always been SUGAR. I’ve been known to go the entire day only nibbling on a pan of brownies ….only to see that the pan is gone two days later and I haven’t shared a single one. While a brownie diet sounds fabulous (right?!?), it doesn’t make me FEEL good. So this past Saturday, Travis and I cleaned out our fridge and pantry and got rid of all the desserts. Nothing too strict – I still have my cereal and my graham crackers – but all the desserts were TOSSED. It felt good.
I always make a BIG salad at the start of the week! Add lean proteins (crockpot chicken or tuna fish) + healthy fats (I love avocados).
Today is Day 4 of my Cleaned-up Diet (combined with a few Advocare supplements) and I must say that I feel wonderful. I have ENERGY again!! We’ve been getting in the bed about an hour earlier than normal (more sleep always helps. Always.). We’ve eaten a salad every day (sometimes twice a day). My normal afternoon coffee and Oreo ball has been replaced with Spark and a banana with almond butter. Travis is actually doing the 24 Day Advocare Challenge so I know that our lives won’t include desserts for at least the next few weeks. After a straight month of living in a sugar coma, I’m more than ok with that.
Here’s what’s important about all of this: I’m doing everything moderately. Yes I suppose throwing out sugary treats might have been extreme but I know that I’m less likely to reach for those things if they’re not in the house. There was no grand sweeping “No SUGAR whatsoever/No CARBS after 6pm”-sort of declarations. I can’t stick to stuff like that. And I’m guessing many of you can’t either.
No quick fixes.
Those are all things that I can get behind as a adult who needs to eat a little better. I used to do crazy (CRAY-ZY!) stuff in the past to lose weight or “detox” and I’m just so over that. Anyway, I hope that if you’re in the same boat, you’ll give yourself a little GRACE and take it all one day at a time. By this time next year, if you’re a little lighter, a little stronger, a little healther, then that’s a step in the right direction!
QUESTION: Have you cleaned up your diet this week? Do you practice moderation or are you an “all or nothing”-type of person?
P.S. I’ve been asked to write a post on the SUPPLEMENTS I take so look for that in the coming days. Any other posts that you’d like to see?