It probably won’t surprise you to hear that one of my favorite things to do is spoil the people in my life with baked goods. There is seriously nothing I love more than baking for my friends and family – especially when they come to visit! Breakfast is usually the meal I go all out on, because it’s pretty hard to top waking up to a freshly baked treat. Pancakes and biscuits are always a good option, but when I want to go allllll out and really pamper my guests……I make coffee cake. And this gluten-free Chocolate Pecan Coffee Cake just happens to be my new favorite.
It’s hard to believe that fall is upon us and that next week will be October already. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like we barely had a summer this year! The last few weeks of summer in particular felt like a blur to me, especially with all the studying for my nutrition courses. And while I always have a tough time letting go of summer, there are a few things I absolutely love about the fall. The first is that it’s the start of football season! Which means I get to geek out and obsess waaaaay too much over my fantasy football teams and get to watch my beloved Broncos play on a weekly basis (which might not necessarily be a good thing based on the past couple seasons). The second thing I love most about fall is that it’s a season filled with warm, cozy desserts. Think cinnamon spiked coffee cakes, hot apple fritters, and, if you’re like me, basically anything with Italian plums like these gluten-free/vegan Italian Plum Streusel Bars.
I’ve always said that one of my favorite parts about making cookies is getting to eat the cookie dough. I don’t know why, but sometimes cookie dough seems more alluring than the actual cookies. Maybe it’s because I know I’m not supposed to eat a lot of it or that it’s slightly controversial……or could it be that cookie dough is the bad boy of cookies and that just makes it sexier and more appealing?? Like we know we shouldn’t love it and there’s a slight danger in it, but no matter how hard we try – we just can’t seem to stay away.
Is it just me or has summer flown by this year?? I feel like it just started and now it’s already mid-August! Which means there’s a lot of hiking, camping, and hanging outside that I need to cram into the next month or so. It also means there’s only so much more time to take advantage of all the summer berries and fruit! I’ve found the best way to do this is to put berries on everrrryyyything……oatmeal, toast, ice cream, cookies and especially this Pistachio Cake that just also happens to be naturally sweetened and gluten-free.
As most of my friends and family will tell you, I’m so not a morning person. Mornings and I don’t get along very well. Like it takes me a good hour to be a functioning human being after waking up. Which is kind of weird because I LOVE breakfast. You would think that the excitement of getting to eat a crispy waffle or big stack of pancakes would make me become more of a morning person……but not so much. I mean it helps and definitely makes mornings better, but it still hasn’t converted me to a full-blown morning loving person.
Whenever people ask me how I come up with recipe ideas, I always tell them “Oh, I get inspired by a lot things like vintage cookbooks or what’s in season or a new dessert trend I’ve seen.” But if I’m being honest…..most of my ideas come to me because it’s something I really, really, really want to eat. Like something I’m seriously craving and need to develop a recipe for ASAP so I can eat as much of it as I want. And that’s exactly how the idea for these Healthier Peanut Butter Buckeyes came about.
Well, I wasn’t kidding when I said I’ve been getting lots of requests for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan recipes. This is another one that came at the request of a friend. She asked if I could make something for her son’s birthday……the only kicker was that it had to be both gluten-free and vegan. And since I believe every kid (and really every adult) should have an awesome dessert on their birthday – I immediately accepted the challenge.
For the past couple months, I’ve been playing around with making healthier treats. This came about for a lot of reasons. One is that I’ve been getting a lot of requests from friends to develop gluten-free and vegan recipes. And since I consider myself an equal opportunity baker – I’m happy to oblige. But, if I’m being honest, the biggest reason I’ve been doing this is because this style of baking is new to me and I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge. At first, I thought it might be a pain developing recipes without dairy and gluten…….and don’t get me wrong – it’s definitely not the easiest thing in the world. But what I didn’t expect was how much fun it would be.
If you guys are anything like me then you might have gone a wee bit overboard on the sweets and drinking over the holiday season. And if you’re like me, that holiday season dragged on and lasted til way past the New Year (aka up until a few days ago). Now this isn’t something I say often, but my body needs a serious break from all that sugar. So while I’m all about trying to eat a little healthier this week, I still need some kind of treat. Cause let’s face it……this girl needs her cookies and going completely cold turkey from desserts is just not realistic.
When it comes to food, I’m a firm believer in moderation and not labeling things as “good” or “bad.” A healthy relationship with food is far more important than sticking to some crazy strict diet. So instead of feeling guilty about all the delicious, amazing desserts I ate over the past few weeks, I’m going to look at the holiday season for what it was. A fun time to indulge in baked goods and share them with loved ones. But now it’s time to get that balance back…..and still get my cookie fix.
I usually try to keep things pretty light and not too crazy personal around here, but sometimes there are things going on in my life that end up seeping into my baking/blogging world. And this is definitely one of those things…….for the past couple of years I’ve been dealing with some stomach problems and this summer it finally got bad enough that I decided to go see a doctor and really figure out what was going on. At first, they thought I might have Celiac Disease…..which was definitely not what I was expecting or wanting to hear (all I kept thinking about was baking and how everything would have to change). Thankfully, that turned out not to be the case. But what they did discover was almost as surprising (mostly cause I had no idea this was even a thing)……turns out barley and me don’t get along so well. I guess the technical term is “allergic” or “intolerant” but the general gist is I can’t eat a lot of barley.