Monday, September 15, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies!!! YUM!!!

I love to lurk on Pinterest and blogs reading and pinning recipes.  I also love cookbooks.  I collect them and I read them cover to cover.  Here's the thing . . . I almost NEVER make the recipe exactly as written.  I have been cooking and baking a long time and I know what my family likes and what they don't.  I also have learned to substitute ingredients and have found that I sometimes like the sub better than the original.  Since July 29, 2013, I have adapted my fair share of recipes to suit our new lifestyle.  There is a LOT of material out there on grain free and sugar free recipes but, I have never found one that was perfect for my family as it was.  I am always tweaking.  This is a recipe that is sort of the love child of a cookie recipe from an old, stained church cookbook and the skills I have learned over the past year or so adapting recipes.  I have used this cookbook for as long as I have been able to cook alone.  The copyright is 1981!  As you can see, it is well used and well loved!

This is the recipe that I used to make a lot.  It was submitted by Ida Ropiecki.  Sister Ida was old when I was little but, I remember her being a very sweet lady.  She always brought really tasty desserts to church functions.  I have never really been a "nut in my dessert items" kind of girl but, these cookies were so good.

My crew really only ALWAYS wants chocolate chips in EVERYTHING . . . So, here is what I did to get what you see in the picture below.  I call them "Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake Cookies" or "C to the 5th"!  Sorry!  Cheesy teacher humor!  Back to the recipe!


 8 oz 1/3 fat Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp salted butter, softened
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter

I put these in a large bowl and because I am impatient and didn't want to wait for them to soften, I took my cold ingredients and nuked them for 30 seconds in the microwave.  I whipped them together with my hand mixer and added:

1 cup xylitol
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

I whipped these until all was incorporated and fluffy . . . maybe a minute.  Then I added:

3 eggs

I mixed after each egg and as I mixed, the batter got fluffier.  Then I added:

1/4 tsp sea salt (you could add more if you use unsalted butter but, I used salted.)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup almond flour
1 scoop (1/3 cup) vanilla whey protein powder (I used Jay Robb.)

I mixed it all together being careful to get all the almond flour lumps smoothed out.  Then I added:

2 cups sugar free chocolate chips!!!  ((GASP!!!))

I know that's a lot but, my motto is "Go BIG, or Go home!"  We went big!  I mixed these in with the spatula and stuck the bowl in the fridge while I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.  The batter is just that . . . a batter.  It is super soft and needs to be chilled or it will spread really quickly.  10 minutes does the trick.  I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and used my small Pampered Chef cookie scoop to scoop even balls of batter onto the sheet.  I baked for 15 minutes (or until the edges are golden).  I let them cool a few minutes on the sheet before I transferred the cookies to the counter to finish cooling.  I got exactly 50 cookies from this recipe but, the last 2 cookies were larger than the rest of them.  Here is a close up!  It looks like a chocolate chip cookie but . . . one bite reveals the lovely taste of cheese cake!  What a happy surprise!

Each cookie has 50 calories,  2.5g fat, 0.6g net carbs and 1.3g protein.  If you follow THM, these cookies are S!  I ate 3 while I was baking them!  Don't you wish your cookie looked just like this?!  Go!  Make these NOW!!!

Just a few notes:
* I like 1/3 fat Philly because there is no carrageenan and it has the lowest carbs.
* You could do half chocolate chips and half chopped nuts of some sort but . . . why?
* I wanted these to be soft.  They are the consistency of Soft Batch cookies from Keebler.  The original cookies are dense and the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of nuts.  I cut back on the butter and added an extra egg.  I used a total of 1 cup of dry ingredients (2/3 cup almond flour and 1/3 cup whey protein powder).  Protein powder (much like coconut flour) will soak up moisture in a recipe.  You can always add but, you can't take away, so if you want a denser cookie, go with 1 cup of almond flour and 1 scoop of whey.  Mix it and check your consistency.  Then, add your extra whey a tablespoon at a time until the batter looks right to you.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A New Cookie Recipe aka "I am a Freakin' Genius!!!"

Every Sunday night I make a batch of healthy treats to last us the week for lunches and snacks so we don't get off track.  I usually make a batch of protein brownies and protein blondies, cut them into squares and wrap them individually.  I wanted a change so I was thinking cookies!  So, I started rummaging through the cabinets, pantry, fridge and freezer.  I found a bunch of partial bags of different nuts in the freezer . . . you know . . . ends of bags that are not enough for any one recipe.  So I dumped them into the food processor.  I had black walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, and  hazelnuts.  I pulsed until they were finely chopped but not quite "meal" consistency.  Then I added maybe 1/2 a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut and a couple of TBSP of dried goji berries.  I pulsed again until everything was consistent.  I ended up with exactly 2 1/2 cups of this mixture.  I set it aside and kept on rummaging.

I came across this peanut butter in the cabinet that I had bought at Trader Joe's.

So, in case you haven't noticed already, these are going to be S cookies (if you follow THM).  I set aside the peanut butter and got out all the usual cookie ingredients.  You know . . . butter, eggs, baking soda, vanilla extract, xylitol, Just Like Brown Sugar, etc.  I softened 1/2 a stick of butter in the microwave and added 3/4 cup each xylitol and Just Like Brown Sugar and I mixed it with my hand mixer until it was light and fluffy.  Then I added 2 eggs, a pinch of sea salt, 1 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp maple extract and 2 tsp vanilla extract.  I blended all of that together until smooth.  Then I dumped in 1 cup of my special peanut butter and thought, "Hey! Cinnamon would be good!"  So I added 1 tsp of cinnamon to the batter and blended.  Then I tasted it batter and it was pretty darn tasty so I dumped in my 2 1/2 cups of nut mixture that I had made and blended.  It was still pretty loose so I added 1/2 cup golden flax meal and mixed.  It was still not quite the right cookie dough consistency, so I added another 1/2 cup of golden flax meal.  This is what it looked like.  Pretty, right?

Then I decided to add some chocolate chips because second only to bacon, chocolate makes everything better!  So I added 6oz of sugar free chocolate chips.  Not that many . . . see?  I also used my small cookie scoop to get evenly sized cookies.

I scooped them onto a parchment lined baking pan and baked in a preheated, 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  I also flattened them a little with the palm of my hand before I put them in the oven so we would not get golf ball cookies.

They only needed 10 minutes.  The edges were slightly golden and the tops were set.  I let them cool a couple of minutes on the pan before moving them to the counter.

They were soft and slightly gooey in the middle with a very light crisp around the edges . . . just like a good homemade cookie should be!  They tasted like oatmeal cookies.  They were nutty and sweet from the goji berries and coconut shreds but, they weren't chunky because I had processed everything semi-finely before hand.  You can see how small the nuts and seeds were in the picture below (after I took a bite).  My husband thought they were the old oatmeal cookies I used to make.  I must say, they were very good and hard to tell that they weren't a sinful treat!

I have been trying to come up with a clever name for these cookies and I have decided on . . .
wait for it:


Long and obnoxious, I know, but . . . I thought it was a good title since they taste AMAZING and have TONS of protein, fiber, healthy fats and NO JUNK!  I also thought it was better than Michael's suggestion of:


What do you think we should call them? Try them and then let me know! Here is the recipe all in one place:

1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup xylitol
3/4 cup Just Like Brown Sugar

Mix until light and fluffy. Then add:

2 eggs
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
a pinch of sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure maple extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Blend until smooth and add:

1 cup peanut butter

Blend and add:

2 1/2 cups finely ground nut/coconut/goji mixture
1 cup golden flax seed meal

Mix well and add in (optional):

6 oz sugar free chocolate chips

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes on a parchment lined baking pan. This recipe makes 5 dozen cookies.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Update and Red Velvet Cake for Breakfast!

Happy Labor Day! Today was a lazy day here at The Temple of Adventure. We all slept in and then we pretty much just hung out around the house. It was a nice change from the craziness of the last 2 weeks. So here is my update, I am down a total of 67 pounds and 51.25 inches overall. I still have some areas I want to tone but, I am working on that on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with my trainer. Donna is awesome and I never thought I would be able to do the things that I can do now. It is really amazing. I have pretty much turned over my entire closet including shoes! I actually lost a size in my feet. It is super weird but, the doctor said it was normal for someone who has lost the equivalent of their 9 year old son to lose a shoe size. My rings are all too big and my new summer clothes that I bought at the end of spring are getting looser. I have had to move the seat closer to the steering wheel in the car. I guess my butt used to boost me closer to the wheel! LOL! The numbers make me happy but, all the non-scale victories make me even happier.  Because I have been strength training, I have been building muscle (which weighs more than fat) so even though I am smaller, I am heavier than I look.  Please, do not go by the BMI chart!!!  It doesn't take in consideration things like muscle mass and body type.  This is why the non-scale victories are so important.  According to the BMI chart, my BMI is 24.6.
The ranges are:
Underweight = 18.4 or less
Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
As you can see, at a BMI of 24.6, I am just barely into the "healthy or normal" weight range.  However, I wear a size 4 in jeans and a medium or small top depending on the brand.  Do I still have fat on my body?  Sure, I do.  I still have areas I am working on but, I don't know how realistic it would be for me to lose another 18 pounds.  Here is a picture from last Sunday just for fun!

Here is what you were really waiting for . . . Red Velvet Cake!!! This is a "Cake in a Mug". It is an S if you are on THM. It is grain/gluten free, sugar free and low carb. This is my cake after it came out of the microwave. I forgot to mention that it is also free of food dyes! Isn't it beautiful? I didn't make it in a mug.  I made it in a small Corningware crock so maybe we should call it "Crock o' Cake"!  LOL!  OK, I'll stop now.  BTW . . . I use this crock when making bread in a mug and it is the perfect size for hamburgers!

How, you ask, did I get my Red Velvet Cake so pretty and red without food dyes? With Cocoa Cardio! I love it! It has cocoa powder, beet juice extract and hibiscus extract in it.  I use it a lot.  I used it to make my Red Velvet Cake Batter Protein Shake.  That post has the link where you can purchase it on Amazon.

So, here is how I made this:
I melted 1 TBSP of butter in my crock.
I added 2 TBSP of full fat sour cream to the melted butter and whisked it together until smooth.
I added 2 drops of SweetLeaf Vanilla Crème stevia drops.
(You can use regular stevia and a dash of vanilla extract but, I had this so I used it.)
I added 1 egg and whisked it all together.
Then I added the dry ingredients:
2 TBSP golden flax seed meal
2 TBSP almond flour
2 tsp CocoaCardio
(You can use plain cocoa powder and add red food coloring if you don't have this.)
1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 TBSP xylitol (or sweetener of choice)
a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
Whisk all of it together until smooth and microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.  I made 2 of these for breakfast.  One for me and one for Michael.  It was so good!
Oh yeah!  I forgot I made a quick frosting!
This recipe is for 2 cakes so if you are just making one, cut it in half.
4 oz of full fat cream cheese (softened in the microwave)
2 drops SweetLeaf Vanilla Crème stevia drops
(or regular stevia and a few drops of vanilla extract)
1 heaping TBSP of powdered xylitol (or sweetener of choice)
Whisk everything together until smooth and put half on one cake and half on the other!
Isn't it delicious looking?
MMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!  You know you want some!

Red Velvet Cake . . . the breakfast of champions!
BTW . . . this cake with frosting is a FAT BOMB!
686 calories, 51g fat, 7g net carbs and 20g protein!
MMMMMM!!!!   Diet Food!  LOL!