Healthier Holidays Giveaway + Chewy (Unrefined) Sugar Cookies

Disclosure: For this post, I’ve teamed up with Madhava Natural Sweeteners. I received 2 bags of their Better Baking Blend to try, and I am being compensated for my recipe development and photography; all opinions are 100% mine.

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This is going to be a jam-packed post! Madhava asked me to discuss how I stay healthy during the holiday season so I’ll be talking about that below, and I’m going to share a recipe I created featuring Madhava’s Organic Better Baking Blend. I’m also going to tell you about Madhava’s Healthier Holidays social media contest, and I am giving away a bunch of Madhava products, too!

I don’t really approach the holidays any differently than I do “regular” days when it comes to food, exercise, and other healthy habits. I am consistent about eating well and getting regular exercise all the time, including during the holiday season. While the holidays are definitely busier, and there are more opportunities for overindulging in treats and skipping the exercise, I just try not to do too much of either one of these. I work treats into my regular diet on a daily basis so I have no reason to overconsume these at parties, on vacation, etc., and I get to the gym and walk as much as I can. That said, if I do overeat now and then, I don’t stress about it…I just go back to my “regularly scheduled programming” the next day. (I also make sure I get plenty of sleep!)

Cookies are one of my favorite treats. To keep them healthier I like to make my own (I included many of my favorites in my new Holiday Treats eBook!), and when I eat them, I do so in moderation. For me, this generally means 2 homemade cookies, usually after dinner when I am in the mood for something sweet.

unrefined sugar cookies

These sugar cookies that I made with the Madhava’s Better Baking Blend are delicious. Their thickness (and not overbaking them) results in a delightfully chewy cookie. Use the bottom of a patterned glass jar to give them a distictive design, if you like.

unrefined sugar cookies

If you don’t have access to Madhava’s Better Baking Blend, you can use coconut sugar or dark brown sugar in these cookies.

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To enter Madhava’s Healthier Holidays contest, please visit this link, where you’ll find information on how you can share recipes on Pinterest and possibly win one of Madhava’s gift packs or grand prize.

mixandmatch

And to enter my giveaway for A Mix and Match Package from Madhava Sweeteners, please leave a comment on this post about your favority holiday treat (I want to know what it is!). For extra entries, you can “like” Madhava on Facebook, follow Madhava on Pinterest, follow Madhava on twitter, or follow Madhava on Instagram. For each extra entry, please leave an additional comment letting me know.

Official Rules: This giveaway ends on Monday December 29, 2014 at midnight EST. I will choose a winner via random.com and I’ll email the winner on that day. The winner will have 48 hours to provide me with their shipping address. If no shipping address is furnished, I will choose another winner. You must be 18 years or older to enter this giveaway. No purchase is necessary to enter or win this giveaway.

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Pumpkin Panna Cotta

I’m participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) which means I’m blogging every day of November, 2013!

I’ve got a thing for creamy, custard-like sweets. The Italian dessert panna cotta is one of my favorites, so a recipe in this month’s Fine Cooking magazine, a Pumpkin Panna Cotta, caught my eye. The recipe from Fine Cooking features a sauce made with apples and apple cider but I decided to make the panna cotta without the sauce.

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I often make my panna cotta in jars because I think it looks pretty, and so I don’t have to worry about the whole un-molding business. You are, of course, welcome to make yours in ramekins and then un-mold them…whatever floats your boat! I found this pumpkin panna cotta to be plenty sweet without the sauce, but if you try it, I’d love to hear how it comes out.

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Honey From Our Bees! (And Apple Raisin Challah)

It’s been a little over a year since I started keeping bees.

As I explained in this post back in July of 2011, I knew it was going to be a while before we’d be able to harvest honey from our hive. The bees need to have a good stash to get them through the winters, so it’s not right to take what they require to survive. I thought we might have to wait until next year, so I was pretty ecstatic when my bee “guru” Chris determined it was fine to pull out a few frames last week.

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Happy 2012

My daughter Maddie and I had lots of fun making this card starring our pets. We hope you enjoy it, and that you have a healthy, green (and wonderful) 2012!

Chewy Fair-Trade Chocolate Mint Cookies

chocolate mint cookies

Last year around the holidays, I discovered and fell hard for Cooks Illustrated‘s recipe for chewy chocolate cookies. I adored their lovely soft texture and how they contain the perfect amount of melted chocolate chunks. And the sparkling crunchiness of the sugar in which they were rolled before baking? I loved that, too. I recently … Read more