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.

madhava giveaway image

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.

cookies top_

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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Chocolate-Flecked Sesame Cookies

I don’t talk about it much here (because nowadays I eat everything), but I had quite a few food sensitivities at one point in my life. This was a while ago: back in my early 20s. Boy do I wish I’d had a book like Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free back then!

naturally sweet and gluten free

Ricki Heller was one of the very first bloggers I met (albeit virtually) when I started blogging. She’s an absolute sweetheart and I’ve always admired her incredible creativity when it comes to recipes. Ricki’s diet may be limited, but her recipe offerings are anything but…she’s an absolute whiz at coming up with innovative baked goods that don’t contain any animal products, gluten, or refined sugars.

Ricki sent me a copy of her book Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free: Allergy Friendly Vegan Desserts to review. It’s beautifully photographed and everything looks very delicious.

Most of the recipes in the book do require quite a few ingredients, some of which I do not keep on hand. Since I do not have dietary restrictions, I adapted one of the recipes so I could make it with ingredients I already had.

Chocolate Sesame Cookies | Healthy Green Kitchen

These Chocolate-Flecked Sesame Cookies are adapted from Ricki’s Chocolate-Flecked Pumpkin Seed Cookies. They are so yummy: I have been snacking on them all week. The coconut sugar gives them lovely flavor and a bit of crunch I just adore, but be warned: they are a little crumbly due to the almond flour (and the flax seed being the only “binder”).

Ricki’s recipe is below…my changes are in parentheses.

Be sure to follow Ricki on facebook and twitter for more news about her book!

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Cinnamon Sugar Kale Chips

Cinnamon Sugar Kale Chips from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

Cinnamon sugar? On kale chips? I assure you I was incredulous when I first saw this recipe, too. But trust me, this is a combination you really must try.

Cinnamon Sugar Kale Chips from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

I will admit that after making batch after batch of variously spiced kale chips several years ago, I got pretty sick of them. I honestly didn’t care if I ever saw a kale chip again. But then, while perusing Hallie Klecker’s new E-book Crazy for Kale

Crazy for Kale by Hallie Klecker

…I came upon these and knew I had to give them a go.

I made this recipe twice: once when I was home alone (when I had no problem devouring the whole batch) and once for my family (everyone loved them).

If you are already a fan of kale, you will really enjoy Hallie’s E-book. Hallie is such a creative cook, plus all of the recipes are gluten and dairy-free. If you are not already on the kale bandwagon, that’s all the more reason to get the book: you will be inspired!

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Homemade Sriracha

diy sriracha from Healthy Green Kitchen

Yes, I am aware that it’s Valentine’s Day, and that today I am “supposed to” post about cookies, or something chocolate-related, or maybe a romantic dish you could cook for your sweetheart. The thing is, I figured you can find all that good stuff on a bazillion other blogs, so I decided to share something non V-Day related (but totally rad if you love hot sauce): Homemade Sriracha!

Homemade sriracha from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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Dried Apricot and Chile Jam

I have been sick as a dog this past week. {What’s up with that expression, by the way? My dog is perfectly healthy.} The kind of sick where you cannot breathe without all sorts of nasty gurgling in your nose. The kind of sick where your abs are ridiculously sore from all the coughing. The … Read more