Peppermint Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I don’t know about you but I’ve been on a cookie baking bender this past weekend. Attempting to make a good balance of tried and true, old-fashioned recipes and new, better-for-you versions so I can feel slightly better about indulging.

After scouring instagram for recipes that I felt looked like they’d be worth a shot, I stumbled upon this one. And guys, it’s GOOD. Like really good. Lindsay over at Weeknight Bite nailed it with this one!

Not only does it involve some help from a box (um, hello, I’ll take the help where I can get it!) it puts a healthier twist on classic flavors.

These cookies are gluten-free and dairy-free and fill your soul will all the warm and fuzzies of the season.

Here’s the recipe adapted from Weeknight Bite!

Recipe makes about 12-14 cookies!

What you’ll need:

1 Box Simple Mills Chocolate Cake Mix

2 Eggs

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

6 Tbsp Melted Coconut Oil

½ Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (there are dairy-free alternatives if sensitive!)

½ Cup Crushed Candy Canes (I put mine in a ziploc bag and used a meat tenderizer to crush them up, leaving big chunks!)

½ Tsp Ground Espresso Coffee or Instant Coffee* (I added this myself and it’s totally optional but Ina Garten always taught me to add coffee grounds to anything chocolate to really bring out the flavor!)

What to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 


2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with coconut oil spray or other non stick spray.


3. In a large bowl, empty cake mix. Add in eggs, vanilla, coconut oil and coffee grounds. Whisk until combined.


4. Fold in the chocolate chips and half of the crushed candy canes.


5. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto parchment paper making small cookie balls.


6. Sprinkle remaining crushed candy canes over top and lightly press them in so they stick.


7. Option to add sea salt or cracked pink salt over top for a salty/sweet combo!


8. Place in oven and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before enjoying!


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I sprinkle a bit more candy cane over top because you can never have too much, right?!

Let me know how you like yours by leaving me a comment or tagging me in yours over on Insta!

Happy baking!

Hugs + high vibes,

Xx Kendall

Kick the Can Cranberry Sauce

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Whether you’re a lover of canned cranberry sauce at the holidays or not, I KNOW you’ll fall head over heels in love with this homemade version. With only a few ingredients and less than 15 minutes, you’ll have your house smelling divine and a bowl of fresh cranberry sauce that will turn even the most can-committed guests into believers.

Make this sauce the night before or early the morning of to give your house the holiday scent. (If you’re looking for a stovetop potpourri, throw all ingredients below, minus the maple syrup, into a saucepan and simmer on the back burner. Re-add water as needed!)


What you’ll need:

3 cups of cranberries

Zest of 1 orange

2 oranges, juiced

1/3 cup real, pure maple syrup (no Aunt Jemima), plus more to taste

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup water


What to do:

 *note this is what the stovetop potpourri looks like! whole oranges slices work for that but stick with the juice and zest for the sauce!

*note this is what the stovetop potpourri looks like! whole oranges slices work for that but stick with the juice and zest for the sauce!

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Cranberries will start to pop. Stir occasionally.

Once the mixture starts to cook, you can use the back of a wooden spoon to pop some of the cranberries until you can a thick sauce. Leave some cranberries whole for contrast and texture!

If storing, let cool and then keep in a glass, air tight container.

You can make this up to a week in advance!

Take the container out the morning of or a few hours before serving to bring to room temperature. Or if your prefer your sauce to be warm, heat up in the microwave or on the stove!

Hope you and your family and friends have a wonderful holiday this year. Remember quality over quantity when it comes to ingredients and definitely go for the second helping of pie ;)

Xx Kendall

Mashed Garlicky Goodness

Garlic Mashed

The mashed potato recipe to end all mashed potato recipes. You will never put plain mashed potatoes on your table ever again.

These are creamy, flavorful, garlicky and fan-freggin-tastic. Don’t take my word for it though, give these are whirl this Thanksgiving and sit back while your family raves about how good they are. You can thank me on Monday. HA!

I did a test run of this recipe over the weekend for some friends and it was a hit!

This is not a “healthy” version of a classic dish. This is made with real, good quality butter, organic half and half and a whole lotta L-O-V-E.

Best part is you don’t need any fancy equipment. I use the back of a fork to mash these babies. Works like a charm.

The key here is using fresh herbs. The dried stuff can work any other night of the year but for this special occasion grab the fresh stuff. It will help the potatoes taste bright and fragrant.

Ok, so you want to important stuff right?! RIGHT!

If you’re making these for Thanksgiving, know you can peel the potatoes ahead of time and leave them in the fridge overnight in a bowl with water covering the top.

Read through the whole recipe first so you’ll know what to expect!

What you’ll need:

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Potato peeler

Big stock pot

10lbs of Russet or Yukon gold potatoes (yes, ten pounds, there won’t be any leftovers even if you only have two people), peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes

2 Packages Kerrygold Salted Butter

3 Big cloves of garlic or 4 regular sized ones

1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary

1 Tsp minced basil (optional)

1 Tsp minced Thyme (optional)

1/2-3/4 cup of Organic Half and Half (as needed for texture)

1 Tsp Pepper (to taste, meaning taste it and if it needs more add more!)

1 Tsp Salt (the salt from the butter and that the potatoes absorb from the cooking water should be sufficient but taste to double check!)



What to do:

  1. Peel potatoes with a potato peeler. Don’t try peeling ten pounds of potatoes with a hearing knife. You will have blisters and it will make this process a very tiresome one.

  2. Once peeled, cut potatoes lengthwise down the center. Then cut each half down the center again. Finally, cut the sliced half potatoes in thirds across your first cut. This should ensure the potatoes are small enough that they will cook quickly and thoroughly enough to mash by hand.

  3. Once peeled and diced, fill a huge stock pot with water about 2/3 of the way full. You might need to divide and conquer if you don't have a big enough pot. Bring water to boil.

  4. Once boiling, add 1-2 tbsp of salt to the boiling water. Gently (I mean gently! Use a spider to ease potatoes in if you have one!) place diced potatoes into the boiling water.

  5. Set a timer for 20 mins.

  6. While the potatoes are cooking, dice up your garlic, herbs and one package of butter and set aside.

  7. Once the potatoes are cooked enough that you can stick a fork in them, dump them into a colander and strain the water out.

  8. Shortly after, place potatoes into a big bowl. They will be steaming hot so be careful!

  9. Place diced butter, garlic and herbs into the hot potatoes.

  10. Using the back of a big fork (or a potato masher if you have one!) start mashing the potatoes…working to combine the butter, garlic and herbs. Being careful not to overwork the potatoes. We want light and fluffy potatoes not a starchy, gummy mess.

  11. Now check to see the texture of the mash. If it needs some liquid start adding a little bit of half and half at a time until you get the desired consistency.

  12. Taste.

  13. Add a little salt and pepper for good measure and taste again. If perfect, you’re done!

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Once they’re combined you’re good to go. Warm them in the oven before serving, or microwave for a few minutes with a tab of butter on top. Mix before serving.

A key tip for any side for Thanksgiving is to warm the dish you are serving it in if you’re transferring from a storage container.

I will literally put plates and bowls and serving dishes in the oven without food in them to warm so the food you’re serving stays warm. Otherwise the heat from the food transfers to the plate and then you’re eating this meal you slaved over, cold.

I hope this side dish brings you the most joy and become your go-to staple to bring any and everywhere. Let me know how you like it!

No matter what the holidays mean to you, be grateful for a warm meal and love. If you don’t have a warm meal, please come to my house…we’ve always got room at the table!



Xx Kendall





The Almost Famous Almond Flour Banana Bread

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I love fall for the very reason that it’s perfectly acceptable to be baking non-stop and filling your home with overwhelming scents of cinnamon and pumpkin spice. No one can stop you! Which brings me to my favorite bread to make in the fall: banana bread.

Now, being the health enthusiast I am, I’m always looking for ways to enjoy my favorite things but making sure I’m getting the most bang for my buck.

For example, if I’m going to eat a heaping portion of carbs in one sitting I want to make sure I’m using great ingredients that won’t leave me feeling like I just got off a sugar roller coaster. There’s a time and place for gluten in my life and it’s not in banana bread that I make (especially when this almond flour dupe tastes EXACTLY the same).

I’ve tricked tons of people into thinking this wasn’t one of my “healthy BS recipes”. Isn’t it funny how people get mad at you for offering them a healthful alternative?! I’ll never understand it. Lol.

So, without further ado, I bring you the most delicious almond-flour banana bread, ever.

I’ve adapted this recipe a bit from Paleo Running Momma! She has amazing recipes that are paleo friendly and taste like all the gluten goodness you’ve come to love.

You can add chocolate chips and/or walnuts to make this bread extra special. But *warning*, you will eat it all yourself if you do this!

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What you’ll need:

-4 Over ripe bananas

-1 3/4 cups blanched Almond Flour

-1/2 cup of Tapioca Flour (or “starch”)

-4 Eggs at room temperature (for all baking, eggs are best at room temp!)

-1/4 Coconut Oil, melted and cooled

-1 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp nutmeg

-1/4 sea salt

-2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-Chocolate chips (optional)

-Walnuts (optional)

-1 loaf pan

-Parchment paper



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What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bow, mix all dry ingredients until combined evenly.

  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas well. Whisk in vanilla extract, coconut oil and the 4 eggs.

  3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Hand mix slowly until no flour is visible. Be careful not to over mix the batter or else it will become tough and not rise properly!

  4. Line your loaf pan with parchment paper. Fill the pan with the batter.

  5. Transfer to preheated oven and set timer for 50 minutes.

  6. Remove from the oven when the top is golden brown and a toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean!

  7. Let the loaf cool in the pan on the stove for 30 minutes.

  8. Remove from pan using the parchment paper, slice and enjoy!

I top my banana bread with a hefty slice of Kerrygold salted butter. To me, there is no better butter. Plus it’s made from the milk of grassfed cows so it is loaded with vitamin A. Doesn’t that make you feel better about it?! LOL!

Let me know how you like this bread! If you’re new to baking this is the best place to start. There is very minimal room for failure with this recipe. Plus, I doubt anyone you serve it to will know it’s made with almond flour and you’ll giggle inside knowing you gave them something healthful and made with love.

Happy baking!



With love + light,

Xx Kendall



My Current *Safer* Skincare Regimen

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Last year when I decided to go off birth control and get my hormones in check, I learned ALOT about our bodies endocrine system and how everything we put in and ON our bodies affects us.

Part of giving my hormones time to rebalance meant I had to get serious about the products I was using on a daily basis. From cleaning products to skincare, the more I read the more aware I became of just how harmful everything I had was. I couldn’t believe it! I had never thought twice about this.

Here I was, eating organic broccoli and grass fed beef and slathering myself with nivea body lotion and aveeno moisturizer. I considered myself savvy in the wellness game but this was something I never looked into.

After researching further I learned how the ingredients in our beauty/skincare products are not regulated and the terms “natural” or “organic” meant nothing. The ingredients in the majority of products have known endocrine disruptors (hormone disruptors) that can cause a slew of health issues. Like, WHAT!? 😳

After making sure the foods on my plate supported my birth control detox, I had to take this next step.

I went through all of my skincare, my body wash, my lotions and threw out everything.

Initially I replaced everything with coconut oil. (Ha!) Which is a great start for make up remover and body lotion. But then I needed cleanser, moisturizer, serums, you name it.

Now, a year an a half later, I can’t say my whole beauty cabinet is 100% safer but it is getting there.

I think of it as a marathon not a sprint.

If you’re looking to move your products over to safer, less toxic options, I say start with the things you use the most and go from there.

For me, that was cleanser, moisturizer and tinted SPF.

Luckily for me, a friend introduced me to Beautycounter and explained the benefits of safer skincare. She literally dropped a whole line of it off to me so I feel like this switch to cleaner beauty kind of fell into my lap! Ha!

After using the products for a week I was HOOKED! The regimen was outlined for me and the routine made my self care game 100%.

From there, I ordered some of the products and added them to my routine.

I’ve tried a bunch of safer alternatives since then, loved some, hated others. I’m all for safer, cleaner, non-toxic beauty care but it’s also gotta WORK. I’m trying to keep this skin and body looking young and chipper and I’ve definitely had my fair share of sun damage.

So, if you’re new to clean beauty I thought I’d share what I use now that I absolutely love. Now, not all of these products live up to the strictest of guidelines (aside from Beautycounter) but they are safer, more conscious alternatives.

What my current skincare regimen looks like:

AM

Cleanser: love this cleanser as it’s oil free, has mild exfoliating beads and smells refreshing. I use this AM/PM. This Countercontrol line is new and I’ve been using since it came out. It completely changed my skin for the better and got rid of these pesky little bumps I had all over my face after healing from adrenal fatigue

Vitamin C serum: now this isn’t what I consider “clean” but I’ve been using this for so long and it works so well that parting with it is hard. Lol! Beautycounter has one that is just as effective that I’ve tried but it is oil based. It was too heavy for me in the summer months so I’m eager to try it again once this bottle runs out. Also, they price point you can’t beat: skinceuticals is $168 and the Beautycounter one is $68. It lasts the same amount of time!

Oil Free Moisturizer: while my vitamin C serum is absorbing I will usually brush my teeth. Afterwards I follow up with moisturizer all over my face and neck. This oil-free formula keeps me from looking shiny and greasy but makes my skin look super hydrated.

Tinted SPF: once that’s on and absorbed I finish everything with the Soleil Toujours tinted SPF in Mineral Glow. I usually don’t wear any make up but this leaves my skin with just enough coverage (and slight glow) that I feel it’s all I need!

Throughout the day, if I feel like my skin needs a quick refresh, I’ll spritz this rosewater facial spray all over!

As for my PM routine, I try to keep it simple and add in a mask once or twice a week.

PM

Cleanser: I use the same cleanser at night!

Acne Treatment: I use this Beautycounter all over acne treatment that I swear is the holy grail. I’ve use other salicylic acid treatments before but none has ever left my skin feeling hydrated and treated before. Some were drying and others just simply didn’t work. I put this all over my face every night and wake up with clear skin and a beauty glow.

Moisturizer: I will *sometimes* follow up the acne treatment with the same moisturizer I use in the morning because it’s light and hydrating. In the winter months I’ll need something more but for now this works great! Most nights, however, I just leave the salicylic as my final step. It actually helps bring moisture to the surface of your skin all on its own!

Sunday nights + 1x throughout the week I add in this charcoal mask. I’m prone to blackheads and congestion (which get worse if I eat a lot of starchy carbs, go figure) so doing a balancing charcoal mask helps remove excess gunk.

And that’s my current routine! I’m not into a fifteen step routine (or spending all that money for that matter) but I do love a little regimen. It feels very “self-care” and I actually get excited to do each step every morning and night.

Now, I will guess this routine will change as I get bored easily and my skin needs different things as the seasons change but when it does I will be sure to report back!

Have you tried any safer beauty products yet?! Do you know what’s currently *in* the products you use now?! Feel overwhelmed with all this?? Start small. One purchase at a time!

Xx Kendall

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