No-Bake Healthy Cookie Balls

No Bake Healthy Cookie Balls

I’m not just fifty anymore – I’m in my mid-fifties. Wow, that sounds old. It’s not that I mind getting older, it’s just that I continually feel like I have to get to know a whole new body because what worked in my 30s and 40s ain’t working now. And try not to judge the ain’t in that sentence because it really helps me get the point across. Thank you!

So the latest thing is, that no matter how much I run or how much I watch what I eat – it still seems like I have this little belly issue going on. And it’s not just the usual bloat I’ve always been accustomed to, it’s a mushier and saggier version. Not a good look.

To address my new look, I’ve kind of stopped eating certain things. I can’t say I’m on a diet, because I’m still enjoying food to the max, but I have found that I’m ok with saying toodaloo to foods that just don’t make me feel good. I never thought I’d say this, never-mind DO it, but for the last couple months I’ve been avoiding bread. I’m ok, really I am.

The best discovery for me since I stopped eating bread (for the most part), is that it forces me to be more creative when I’m hungry. For example, I can’t just slap some good Italian cheese on crusty bread and call it dinner anymore. I actually have to make some brown rice or quinoa, or something like that, which then forces me to figure out what fresh veggies or fish, or whatever to serve with it. It’s no surprise that I actually feel better when I eat like that, and the extra effort is always worth it.

I’m also steering clear of processed food and white sugar, and as a total cookie addict I had to come up with a few healthy versions so my taste buds could stay happy. These little cookie balls can’t really compare to a warm chocolate chip cookie, but they really do satisfy that sweet tooth, and taste delicious any time of day – but especially in the morning with coffee.

The thing that makes these cookies so delicious is that I use tahini to bind all the yummy ingredients together. I love tahini for baking, salad dressing and sweets!

If you don’t love sesame, or sesame butter, you can swap it out with peanut butter. Either way, these cookie balls are delicious and good for you, even if you aren’t having droopy belly issues like yours truly. :)

 

No-Bake Healthy Cookie Balls
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 6-8 dates, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup (or more) tahini (or peanut butter)
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ½ cup raw or toasted almonds
  • ½ cup currants
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ⅛ cup ground flax seeds
Instructions
  1. In food processor, pulse oats and dates until combined. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until desired consistency. Mixture should have enough dates, honey and tahini to bind dry ingredients together. To test, squeeze some together to make sure it sticks together.
  2. Roll into small balls and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
  3. Suggestion: Freeze some cookie balls
  4. Makes about 20 cookie balls.

Whole Wheat Banana & Blueberry Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana and Blueberry Muffins
If you follow my blog posts, you may know that I am a morning baker who loves to wake up before the sun rises to start experimenting with almost any kind of dough or batter. For me, there’s something so peaceful about the subtle aroma of warm vanilla, or the feel of kneading dough in a quiet, morning kitchen.

The other morning I decided I needed to bring blueberry muffins to work. I had no idea this recipe would get added to my blog until I handed the muffins out at work and received really positive feedback, and got several requests for the recipe. Who knew that something so simple as blueberries and bananas would make such an exciting muffin?

If you’re looking for a subtly sweet, healthy morning muffin (with bursts of juicy blueberries) you found yourself a winner!
Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Banana & Blueberry Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I prefer King Arthur's White Whole Wheat)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup brown or granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tin with butter or baking spray and lightly flour.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer, or medium mixing bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and baking soda, salt. On low speed, add butter and mix until well-blended, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add bananas, sugar and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time; beat on medium for another 20-30 seconds. Gently stir in blueberries.
  4. Fill muffins cups to ¾ full and bake about 22 minutes until golden brown and center springs back when lightly touched.
  5. Let cool on rack for 10 minutes before carefully removing muffins.

Thick and Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

hick & Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lately I’ve been on this morning running kick and have been kind of craving a little sugar by the time I get to the office. I don’t really enjoy big breakfasts, so these whole grain chocolate chip cookies are my new favorite thing to have with coffee. I know that cookies aren’t a traditional breakfast pastry, but for me it feels perfectly fine. By lunchtime, I’m craving all the good stuff, so I’ll have a roasted chicken salad with baby greens, or something like that. It’s all about balance! ; )

Thick & Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Even if you don’t want to eat a cookie in the morning, they are wonderful cookies for any time. I feel better about giving the little ones in my life these cookies simply because of the whole grains. I don’t mind baking with white flour, but I definitely prefer to eat baked treats if they are whole grain.

Enjoy!

Thick and Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes 10 large cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients minus the chocolate chips.
  3. In electric mixing bowl, beat butter for about three minutes until pale yellow. Add sugar and continue to beat for another two minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between additions; and then add vanilla extract.
  5. With mixer on slow speed, slowly add flour mixture until just blended. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and continue for a few seconds until blended.
  6. With ice cream scooper, drop onto cookie sheets about two inches apart. For these large cookies, it's best to bake only six at a time.
  7. Bake for about 11 minutes until edges turn golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before transferring from cookie sheet.

 

Banana Nut Trail Mix Granola

 

Update: I’ve made this granola several times and have made a few changes, so I’m reposting with improved updates. Enjoy!

I love granola, but it’s just hard to find healthy granola that’s not packed with sugar and other ingredients you find yourself pushing aside. I like every bite to be the perfect combination of my favorite ingredients (like cashews, almonds and dried fruit). I also don’t like when I purchase granola that tastes stale (arghh!). That’s the beauty of making your own – you get to have it fresh and your way!
I’ve been making this granola for a few years now and always seem to enjoy switching it up and making different variations. Sometimes I like it simpler, so I don’t add the banana chips or as many nuts. You can do the same. The recipe can also be doubled. Just make sure to add enough of the wet ingredients so the mix is moist before baking.

 

 

Banana Nut Trail Mix Granola
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: several
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup each of the following:
  • slivered or whole almonds, cashew pieces, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup whole flax seeds
  • optional - 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup grade B pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • optional (a few drops of vanilla extract)
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ½ cup banana chips
Instructions
  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl (except raisins and banana chips).
  2. In small bowl, combine all wet ingredients and whisk to blend.
  3. In separate bowl, mix oil, water and vanilla together and then add to dry ingredients; stir until mixture is dampened.Feel free to mix and match dry ingredients to your taste. For example, you may like less nuts and more raisins, or you may want to add dried apricots, ginger, etc.
  4. Spread mixture evenly on a rectangular baking pan. I prefer a large stoneware pan because of the way it evenly distributes the heat, but a large cookie sheet is fine.
  5. Bake at 275 for 40 minutes. Then turn the mixture for a couple minutes for even baking.
  6. Bake for another 20 minutes and flip mixture again. Bake for another 10 or 15 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Let cool completely; add the raisins and banana chips.
  8. Store in air tight container.

 

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

 

Blueberries seem to come to life when they’re baked. They’re delicious as is, but I love they way they get all dark and juicy when baked! I can’t say I’m a huge muffin fan, and I’ll take a scone over a biscotti any old day. But I totally get why some people go crazy over muffins – especially in the morning with coffee.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins | Garlic Girl
 
I’m adding this recipe to my blog because I love to collect and share solid, go-to baking recipes that are quick, yummy, and on the healthy side. I snagged this recipe from King Arthur Flour’s website and didn’t really alter anything.
Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups buttermilk or plain (not Greek) yogurt; or 1¼ cups liquid whey*
  • cinnamon-sugar or coarse white sparkling sugar for topping, optional
  • The liquid drained from plain yogurt when you make thick, Greek-style yogurt.
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease the cups of a standard muffin pan; or line with paper baking cups, and grease the paper cups.
  2. Whisk together all dry ingredients, including the blueberries.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together vanilla, vegetable oil, and buttermilk.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups to nearly full.
  6. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with coarse sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
  8. Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes transfer them to a rack to cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature. Store leftovers loosely wrapped at room temperature.
  9. Yield: 12 muffins.

 

BEST Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip & Coconut Cookies

Best Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip and Coconut Cookies

Moving can be like falling in love. You know that feeling when you can’t wait to see someone so you can spend lots and lots of time with them? Well that’s how I feel about my new little apartment and kitchen. For the past few days all I’ve been doing is daydreaming about how I can hang out with my new (and cute) little kitchen to cook up something yummy.

I know that sounds a little weird, but in a few days my love for the people in my life will be restored. But for now, it’s all about baking cookies and things with new BFF, my kitchen.

Best Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER

These cookies popped out of the oven this morning around 7:00 a.m. It just so happens, they turned out IN-credible, which is why you are getting the recipe right now. So let’s get right to it.

BEST Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip & Coconut Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour (I really like Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat butter and sugars on medium for about 4 minutes until very creamy and pale yellow. On low speed, add eggs, one at a time and turn off mixer.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt; set aside.
  4. To butter and sugar mixture, add flour mixture a little at a time, and blend on low speed. Add coconut and chocolate chips until incorporated.
  5. Roll about two tablespoons of dough in ball and arrange on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for about 11 minutes, or until the lower edges are light golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  6. Makes about 16 cookies

Raspberry & Strawberry Whole Wheat Scones

Rustic Red Berry Whole Wheat Scones

If you follow my blog posts at all, you would know that I’m a little addicted to making (and eating) scones.  If I posted all the scones I make in my kitchen I’d have to rename my blog to Scone Girl instead of Garlic Girl.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Fruit & Veggies: More Matters to guest post on their blog. Since there are lots of California strawberries in the market, the first thing that came to mind was to make whole wheat scones packed with  red berries. By the way, have you ever checked out the Fruit & Veggies website? Of course I’m not getting paid to say this, but there really is a ton of great info there.

For me, there’s nothing better than a warm fresh scone for breakfast served with tea or coffee. I especially like this recipe because it’s not only a treat that tastes great, it’s also pretty wholesome!

Use fresh or frozen berries when preparing these scones, and if you’re using 100 percent whole wheat flour, make sure to use *white* whole wheat – it makes a difference!

Enjoy!

Raspberry & Strawberry Whole Wheat Scones
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup strawberries, cut in small pieces
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons butter), chilled and cubed
  • 5 tablespoons sugar (split)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg white for egg wash
  • Turbinado sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Chop fresh strawberries and toss with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In food processor, add flour, baking powder and soda, 3 tablespoons sugar. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter to the mixture and pulse about 25 times, or until butter pieces are well-blended and very small.
  4. Empty into bowl, add strawberries; combine.
  5. Whisk cream with one egg until just blended; add vanilla extract. Starting with just ¼ cup of the cream mixture, stir in gently until completely combined and dough holds together. Batter should be thick and slightly tacky. If the texture is crumbly, add a little more cream until dough holds shape.
  6. Turn out onto floured surface, knead a couple times and shape into an 8-inch circle. It should be about 2 inches thick.
  7. Slice into 8 pieces (like a pie) and brush top surface with egg wash. Dust with Turbinado sugar.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

 

Rustic Raspberry and Strawberry Scones

 

Whole Wheat Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

If I could make and eat homemade biscotti everyday, I would. I just love them and all their dunkableness. How do you like that word? Dunk-a-ble-ness, it’s a good thing.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Since I’m going through a phase of eating healthier, I made these chocolate biscotti with 100 percent whole wheat flour. Since I like biscotti with no butter (Italian style) I thought there was a chance they’d  be too crunchy, but they turned out great.

If you’ve not made biscotti before, don’t worry – they are totally easy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Whole Wheat Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup whole wheat flour (I prefer white whole wheat)
  • 3 tablespoons high quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • I teaspoon anise seeds
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup toasted almonds (roughly chopped)
  • optional - 1 cup dark chocolate chips for dipping
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Note: If you have raw almonds, lightly toast on medium heat in pan for about 5 minutes until they become aromatic. Once cool, chop roughly.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients (except sugar and almonds) in bowl and whisk a few times to blend.
  4. With electric mixer, beat eggs with sugar for a few minutes until mixture has a pale yellow color.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on low for about 30 seconds until just blended. Stir in almonds.
  6. Turn out onto dry surface and knead a couple times. If dough is too dry or crumbly, dampen hands with water while shaping until it holds shape. Shape into rectangular log, about 10-12 inches long and about one inch high.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes and then remove from oven. Let cool about five minutes and then slice with serrated knife in 1 inch diagonal pieces.
  8. Return biscotti slices (on baking sheet) to oven and reduce heat to 325. Bake for 10 minutes, flip biscotti and bake for another 10 minutes.
  9. If dipping in chocolate, melt chocolate chips (or chocolate Wilton candy melts) in microwave. Dip (or spread) one side in chocolate and let dry chocolate side up.
  10. Enjoy!

 

Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones

I think I’ve made so many scones I don’t which recipes I like best any more! As you may know, I experiment a lot, especially with whole wheat baked recipes simple because I love baked treats, and I also love to eat healthy. This scone recipe is simple – especially if you have a food processor. I just basically mix it all up in there, form a round disk, slice like a pie, bake for 25 minutes – and it’s done! For this recipe, in addition to the fresh blueberries, I pressed frozen berries into the top before slicing the dough and baking. I really liked the look! The photo above was taken on the baking stone, right before they went in the oven.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • optional: an additional cup of frozen berries
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons butter), chilled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (split)
  • ¼-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In food processor, add flour, baking powder and baking soda, 3 tablespoons sugar. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter to the mixture and pulse about 25 times, or until butter pieces are the size of small peas.
  3. Empty into bowl, and starting with just ¼ cup of the heavy cream, stir in gently until combined. Batter should be thick and slightly tacky. If the texture is crumbly, add a little more cream until it holds shape when gently squeezed. Add blueberries and gently stir until combined.
  4. Turn out onto floured surface, knead a couple times and shape into 8 inch circle, about 1½ inches thick.This is optional, but I pressed frozen berries into the top before baking (to add more berries and little flare).
  5. Slice like pie into 8 pieces.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes until tops are golden brown

Roasted Peanut Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

I’m afraid to write too much about these peanut butter cookies because I don’t want the biggest point to get lost – which is that these cookies are ah-mazing. If you are a fan of peanut butter cookies, I would seriously recommend you stop what you’re doing right now and make these cookies!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Here is how I can describe them: peanuty with a combination of crunchy and melt in your mouth textures; sweet and subtly savory, and just simply addicitive.

The best part is that the cookie part is really good, so if you don’t love the chunky roasted peanuts, you will still have the best peanut butter cookie (ever!) even if you leave them out.

This is my recipe that has evolved over time. I just tweaked it yesterday after getting inspired (once again) after eating the peanut butter cookies from my favorite little funky place, Charlie Hong Kong in Santa Cruz (but made at the wonderful Buttery Bakery).

Enjoy!


Roasted Peanut Peanut Butter Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Makes about 18 cookies, depending on size of cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (you can replace with all purpose, I just prefer including whole wheat)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raw peanuts, skins removed if preferred (I like leaving some skins on the peanuts)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Roast peanuts on baking sheet for about 15 minutes until light golden brown. Place in shallow bowl, and set aside.
  3. With electric mixture, cream butter with both sugars for about 3 minutes, until very creamy. Add peanut butter and beat for another minute.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla extract.
  5. Sift all dry ingredients together in a bowl (except nuts). Slowly add to peanut butter mixture, bea on low until just blended.
  6. Roll about a ping-pong size ball and flatten slightly. Roll sides in peanuts, making sure to push them in a bit so they don't fall out. It's ok if it's a little messy.
  7. Place flat side down and 2 inches apart on baking sheet (you don't need to line with parchment paper, but it won't hurt).
  8. Optional: Gently flatten top of cookie with spatula or fork.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

Here’s how they look before baking. No need to be so precise, just roll those peanuts and shove them in the sides if they roll back off!

Roasted Peanut Peanut Butter Cookies