Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Cookies, Holiday Recipe, Cookies, Easy Recipe for Cookies

Rich and decadent without the dose of guilt, these Gluten Free Chocolate Carmel Cookies are the perfect cookie for any occasion, including a holiday cookie swap! Less than thirty minutes from start to mouthwatering deliciousness make them an even-sweeter holiday favorite!

Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Yields 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 oz dark chocolate caramel bar, broken or chopped (our favorite are these)
  • 2  1/2  tablespoons butter (include 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt if butter is unsalted)
  • 3/4  cups all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2  cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2  cup monk fruit extract, date sugar or other sugar substitute
  • 1/4  cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1  1/2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 2  teaspoons lukewarm water
  • 2  teaspoons cacao nibs or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
  3. Soften the butter by heating on the stove at low temp or in the microwave at 60% for 15-second intervals until soft.
  4. Blend the oats, butter, sugars, cacao, baking soda, egg and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the gluten-free flour and chocolate pieces until combined into the dough mixture.
  6. Add the water gradually until the dough is chunky, but not crumbly.
  7. Drop two teaspoons of dough for each cookie, placing 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are set in the center.
  9. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  10. Serve, indulge and enjoy!

What are your favorite cookies for the Holidays? Do you make any substitutions to skip the guilt? Share them with us below!

Three Healthy Holiday Tips You Can Start Doing Today

Healthy Holiday tips and tricks, healthier habits, health, lifestyle healthy lifestyle

We are now embarking on Holiday Season! Thanksgiving is next week! It feels like this year has flown by, doesn’t it?

From family gatherings to office parties to shorter days and cold weather comfort foods, temptation abounds, and we can easily lose sight of our healthy intentions amidst all the excitement and expectation of the season!

Not to worry! We’ve got a few tips to help you stay on top of your health this holiday, starting today!

Tip #1: Set Your Intentions with Healthy Holiday Goals

As you go through your day, take note of how you want to feel this holiday season. How do you want to describe the last few months of 2017 when you look back on it next year or years after? Is it saying no to foods you don’t really enjoy so that you can prevent weight gain? Is it spending more time with close family and friends? Or taking more pictures to document the memories? Whatever your heart’s desire for this holiday, set the intention today.

Why this works?

You get clear and convicted before the hubbub distracts you and pulls away mental resources. The act of simply setting a goal makes you more likely to achieve it, and writing it down increases your likelihood of success by 42%!

Consider your intention like a compass for how you can stay healthy this holiday season.
 

Tip #2: Eat Cleaner Now

Any of the intentions you set above will be more successful if you’re feeling well, have energy and are clear headed. Your food choices make a huge difference in mental clarity and physical energy.

Why this works?

The brain gets wired by food additives, emotional eating patterns and biology to crave certain foods. The best way to crave something tomorrow is by eating it today.

Begin reprogramming your brain and your biology before you hit a time of heightened stress. When you are in those more stressful scenarios, your brain doesn’t have the capacity to be as effective in forming different habits. Laying the groundwork before you hit holiday peak time sets you up for success!
 

Tip #3: Establish Exercise Routine Today

Much like food and drinks play a part in keeping your stress managed, your brain firing on all cylinders and your body fueled for fun and frivolity, so does exercise! Find a few pockets of twenty minutes throughout the week when you can be more active.

Why this works?

Twenty minutes a few times a week catalyzes weight management, overall physical health, stress management and mental well-being. Start today! Whether before work, during a daily conference call or after dinner, seize the opportunity to be more active. Walking counts! So does holiday shopping, washing the car or even vacuuming.

Do the best you can to make the most of the time you have and start now by making small shifts that lead to long-lasting benefits!
 

Up next…

We’ll share healthy holiday tips for the kitchen, holiday parties and even managing family dynamics and social pressures! As always, we love to hear from you – what are your favorite tips and tricks to stay healthy and happy during the holidays?

 

Upgrade the Candy Bowl with Healthier Halloween Treats

bowl of halloween candy, healthier halloween, halloween candy

Halloween marks the beginning of the Holidays! Sure, Thanksgiving is the heavier kick-off to the Season, but Halloween marks the beginning of the teeter-totter of balancing your health goals with the onslaught of temptation of sweet treats, shorter days, sleepier bodies and sluggish feelings.

Want to keep your health goals in check, and maybe uplevel the neighborhood Trick-or-Treating? Try these healthy swaps!

Instead of candy, try…

  • Small boxes of raisins
  • Individually-packaged dried cranberries
  • Fruit strips, like these
  • Mandarin oranges, like Halos or Clementines
  • Packages of pretzels
  • Granola bar bites
  • Mini bottles of water
  • Plastic rings in the shape of spiders, skeletons and the like!
  • We had one client who passed out quarters, half-dollars and rolls of pennies instead of candy!

To mitigate the possibility of higher costs for these healthier options, shop sales and bulk stores, like Costco and BJ’s. It’s well worth it to share healthier options and you certainly won’t feel as guilty when you sneak some treats from the pile 🙂

How do you make Halloween healthier? We’d love to know! Share your ideas with us below!

Friday Faves-ish

Better late than never on this post!

Whew, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind…which is just kind of par for the course given the holidays are officially upon us, right? 🙂 Filled with family fun, friends, jokes, laughter and definitely some memories, here’s the latest of my adventures. Hope your holidays have kicked off with flair, flavor and a lot of fun!

xo!

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For maybe the first time ever, I saw snow in November, and it was amazing! Visiting my family for our yearly outdoor extravaganza in Upstate NY, I was thrilled to see snow coming down like crazy the first day I was there. Unlike here in Atlanta, the city does not shut down, people drive without losing their sense of lawfulness, and the grocery stores stay fully stocked (even the bread and milk sections). It was a whole new wintry world! (I must confess, I also tried to catch some flakes on my tongue. No judgment. 🙂 I felt like a kid!)

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One thing that is kind of understated about visiting my family of farmers is… local, organic, farm-fresh veggies! It was an incredible surprise to find this wheelbarrow full of acorn squash, yellow squash, butternut squash and colorful peppers in my uncle’s barn. I scooped up as much as I could to bring home with me, and then cooked a little up for a snack later that day. Fresh veggies, GF rotini, olive oil, salt & pepper made for a delightfully colorful nom!

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Enjoying our time off during the Thanskgiving week, Jessica and I tried out Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall on the beltline. “Campfire-and-lodge themed,” it offered some lovely wintry cocktails and down-home favorites, like Chicken & Dumplings and a S’mores Pie. It was a blast and should definitely be on your tour if you’re sampling seasonal cocktails or looking for a hip take on comfort foods this winter!

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When our usual, traditional Thanksgiving plans changed last minute, we ended up at a good friend’s house in Grant Park instead, and it was a marvelous turn of events! It was just so much fun to spend the holiday with him, his large family and a few friends. A first-time Holiday host, he did not have extensive fall decor for his tablescape. Leave it to my mom to  throw together the perfect holiday centerpiece: a Paul Revere bowl full of clementines with sprigs of holly from her own holly bush for a touch of color.

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Part of the fun and privilege of being guests for Thanksgiving Dinner is contributing to the meal! We brought the desserts, among others were a gluten-full apple pie and a gluten free apple crisp. What does that mean for the bakers? Lots of apple peeling. This Thanksgiving was probably the first in a few years that we have done it all from scratch, and I honed my apple peeling and slicing skills like never before. The fruit of our labor (see what I did there? ;)) was this delicious apple crisp – tangy, buttery and with just the right amount of topping to delight the tastebuds. A little dollop of whipped topping didn’t hurt either 🙂 Mmmm!

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In post-holiday recovery, my mom and I took to Whole Foods. Her first trip after hearing about this mecca for years! I was beyond thrilled to finally show her the wonderland that is the hot bar and salad bar section! She had a great time and made quite the smorgasbord, but my joy in watching her whip up her own creation paled in comparison to my glee in seeing her take a picture of her meal, which she has never done before! I think having a food blogging daughter is finally wearing off 😉 It was so much fun to share that afternoon with her! Seeing her have as much fun as I was having was just icing on the cake!

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As we get catapulted even further into the holidays, it can be far too easy to get caught up in the hubbub, in the “I have to go to _____,” “we have to do ______,” etc.  Have to, have to, have to. The holidays are a magical time, but they are also a time when we can get a little frustrated or feel overwhelmed. Family dynamics can become more pronounced, the pressure for the perfect holiday/gift/dinner is on, the rush to get it all done can eclipse the joy of the season and the experience itself. We need to remember to take it all in, which is why this quote really grabbed my attention this week. It just clicked when I read it that the holiday season comes once a year, and next year’s Thanksgiving, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas will never be exactly the same as the one upon us in 2014. Take the time to enjoy the moments. Turn up the Christmas carols while sitting in that less-than-stellar holiday traffic. Laugh when the dessert goes a little awry because your crazy aunt or overambitious cousin didn’t get the recipe just right. Just be present and find the joy in it all. No matter how small 🙂 ‘Tis the season!