Coconut and white chocolate cookies

In preparation for our upcoming Christmas party, my sister and I have been practicing making cookies. Yes, we need to practice. I am in no way a strong baker, honestly I’m more likely to burn the cookies than to make anything edible.

But lo and behold! A super simple recipe that is fail proof! The ingredients included are basically all normal household staples besides probably the shredded coconut and white chocolate chips.

This recipe is definitely worth it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces of white chocolate chips (or however much you like)

Steps:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and have your baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  1. Mix together your flour, baking powder and salt. IMG_2754
  2. On medium speed mix together your butter and sugar until combined. IMG_2755
  3. Once your butter and sugar is creamed, on low speed slowly add in your flour, baking powder and salt mixture. (To do this we added in about 1/2 a cup at a time)
  4. Fold in your white chocolate chips.                                                                                            IMG_2757
  5. Refrigerate your dough for about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Once refrigerated, take tablespoon sized portions and roll them into a ball.IMG_2759
  7. Roll the balls in the shredded coconut.                                                                            IMG_2756
  8. Place the balls on your baking sheet.                                                                                          IMG_2763
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly brown.
  10. AND YOU’RE DONE! (let them cool down before you try!)IMG_2764

This recipe is super simple and the cookies came out better than I expected. I hope you guys try this recipe and if you do let me know! I’d love to hear about it. Or if you have other cookies that we could make for the holidays I would love to hear about that as well!

Have a great day!

Love,

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Black bean & sweet potato burgers

I am on a roll this week with black beans! Yesterday my family decided to make steak with rice and black beans for dinner and unfortunately I do not eat steak so I had to make something else. I decided “What a perfect time to make a black bean burger!”. The burger was amazing, it came out a lot better than I thought it would. It was so easy to make so I figured “Hey I’ll eat it today for lunch also”. Since I didn’t take any pictures of it yesterday I thought today I could do that too.

I’ve had black bean burgers from other places and for the most part they were just okay. (Except the black bean burger at Pride & Joy in Wynwood, South Florida they have amazing black bean burgers!) The beauty of cooking at home is that you can tweak anything to your liking and that’s exactly what I did.

Ingredients :

  • Sweet potato, I used frozen fries but you can use fresh sweet potato

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  • 1 can of black beans (15 oz) rinsed and drained
  • Onion ( I used less than 1/4 of an onion)

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  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper

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  • 1 cup of bread crumbs

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  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro

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  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of dry basil
  • 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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To start off I had some frozen sweet potato fries in the freezer and I wanted those in my burger, what better mix than black beans and sweet potatoes?! So I got a pan and coated it with coconut oil and popped a few sweet potatoes fries in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

While my fries are heating up I placed all my remaining ingredients into a bowl and mashed it up, you want most of the beans mashed but it doesn’t have to be 100%. When I was done with that my fries were ready. So I took them out of the oven and cut about half of them into little pieces and mashed them into the bowl with all the other ingredients.

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You must remember to drain your beans so they are not liquid-y!

If your mixture is sticky just add more bread crumbs.

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On a plate I placed some more bread crumbs and got about a spoonful of my mixture and folded it into the crumbs to form a ball. When the ball is no longer wet or sticky you flatten it into a patty. Continue this until all the mixture is in patty form. My mixture made 7 patties. It really depends on how you want your patties, mine were not that thick but if that’s what you like then go ahead!

DSC_1046 I cooked my burgers on the stove with my pan covered in coconut oil. The only reason I didn’t use the grill is because these burgers are a little more delicate so you have to be careful. DSC_1047

Each burger is probably going to take about 3 minutes on each side, this also depends on if you want your burgers with a crunchy exterior (the breadcrumbs help with the crunch factor)

While these burgers were cooking I decided I wanted something a little different. I figured I’d make a sauce for them. This sauce was extremely easy but extremely flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of vegan mayo
  • 1/2 juice of a lime and lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of dry basil and dry thyme

Mix it all together and there is your sauce!

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When everything was done I made myself a plate.

I took the burger and drizzled my sauce on top. Crumbled some Mexican Queso Fresco on top of that (I LOVE this cheese) and placed a slice of tomato on top of that. Then I placed a few of my left over fries on the plate and I decided I needed a salad also. I had some spring mix so I got that with diced pears, about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and oil, and salt and pepper.

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I was pleased with this lunch, the pears were a really nice touch too because they were perfectly soft and sweet. This meal was filling without leaving me with a gross feeling. And that’s how food should be! Food is supposed to give you energy not leave you lethargic!

I hope you guys try this out and if you have any suggestions or feedback I’d love to hear it!

Happy Wednesday

-Nicole ❤

Black Bean Oat Hazlenut Brownies

My blog is all about my experiences with food, health and even beauty. With that being said, most of my experiences with cooking are somewhat failures (I’m a not that great of a baker). But my readers can learn from my failures so I like to share those experiences with you guys.

For the past couple of days I have been wanting to make black bean brownies. Our cabinet has 5 cans of black beans……FIVE…. I love black beans but I like to use items such as these beans in different ways other than just the basic rice and beans, so I decided to give these brownies a try. I will explain exactly what I did that didn’t make the brownies quite right and hopefully you guys can recreate these brownies the right way.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) of black beans, make sure they are rinsed out.

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  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder

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  • 1/2 cup of oats

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  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

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  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

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  • 1/4 cup of honey (I used Orange blossom honey, you can use agave as well)

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  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

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  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil

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  • 1/4 of hazelnuts (chopped, I used a kitchen mallet)

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  • 2 eggs (or two bananas)
  • 1/3 cup of flour

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The black beans for these brownies are supposed to replace the flour, but I used flour anyway because I just didn’t think they would come out like the brownies I wanted.

Also if you pay attention to what I put into the brownies you’ll realize that I didn’t include a major ingredient……. sugar! (You should use 1/2 of sugar)  I was so upset with myself when I tasted the brownies and they weren’t sweet but I hate being wasteful so I just fixed it up a bit. (I’ll explain that a little later).

So I mixed all the ingredients together and it looked amazing. I popped it into the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I check the brownies by sticking a fork or knife in the center and if it comes out clean its ready!

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The brownies looked really good I was so giddy and couldn’t wait to try them. So I popped a piece into my mouth and I was very disappointed, I knew immediately what I forgot. I remember thinking while I was mixing the ingredients “I have to get the sugar”, but I was excited and got sidetracked. Regardless of this I made it work! I decided to make a chocolate sauce to pour over the brownies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • 1 stick of vanilla

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I placed these ingredients in a sauce pan on medium heat mixing it every once in a while so it does not burn. When it was done I went back to my pan with the brownies and I shifted the brownies a little. I just took a fork and made sure the brownies weren’t stuck to each other nor the pan so that I could pour the sauce over the brownies and the sauce will be able to go into every nook and cranny of the brownies. After I poured about 1/3 of the sauce on the brownies and put the rest of the sauce in the fridge. The brownies went back into the oven for about 5 minutes, just enough for the sauce to get all warm and soak into the brownies.

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After all of this I cut a piece for myself and dusted a little powdered sugar on top and tried it out. It worked! They came out really good, my father even tried it and liked it. I didn’t tell him what was in it and knowing me he knew they weren’t just regular brownies and he said they weren’t bad so I’m pretty proud of myself.

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So if you want to try these brownies out I just have a few tips for you…..

  1. Mash the black beans up so you don’t have the whole black beans in them.
  2. Use bananas instead of eggs, I didn’t use bananas because they were all gone 😦
  3. Do not forget the SUGAR!
  4. Even if you do mess up, like I did, don’t throw it out! You can still fix it!!
  5. You don’t have to use hazelnuts, you can use any nuts or no nuts at all!
  6. Chocolate chips would be great in this!

I don’t really have a sweet tooth I just thought black bean brownies would be cool. If you guys do end up trying to make black bean brownies let me know how it goes and if you changed anything, I’d love to get feedback!

Happy Tuesday

  • Nicole ❤

Boll Weevil

Sunday was a beautiful day in Augusta, Georgia. There was hardly a cloud in the sky and my family and I decided to make the most of this day. We decided to go for an adventure in South Carolina. So around midday we left the house and made our way across the border. On our way to Aiken, South Carolina, we stopped at this unique little place called Riverfront Antique Mall. It was extremely cute and unique. It was made up of little shops owned by individual people and filled with all types of knick knacks. A lot of the items were interesting, there were collector items, antique items that you would find in your great grandparents house, and there was some plain junk. IMG_8294

We left here and continued our way up to Aiken.

Now let me warn anyone visiting Augusta, Aiken, or the surrounding areas, there is nothing open on Sunday. That was our mistake. I’m assuming everyone is at church or just relaxing. There is hardly anything opened on Sunday. And it’s unfortunate, well for me because I couldn’t enjoy Aiken. It’s a beautiful place though, downtown Aiken. I will most definitely go back to see what it has to offer. We made our way back to Augusta on the hunt for a restaurant to stop at. I came across some that I wanted to go to but they were all closed. Finally I found a place called Boll Weevil. It’s in downtown Augusta off of James Brown Blvd and its a pretty neat place. I found this place on yelp, there were some cool pictures posted, some good reviews and some just okay reviews. We decided to check it out. Coming in it was quiet and not too many people were there, but then again it was Sunday. You can see that they have like a little separate part of the restaurant reserved exclusively for those customers that just want to buy desserts. (They have amazing sweets) We were sat down and were given menus. IMG_8295Obviously I can’t eat most items that they offer so I ordered a half order of the Portabella sandwich with tomato and apple soup.

IMG_8298In all honesty, I did not care for this sandwich and it could have been better. I love portobello mushrooms but this one wasn’t seasoned at all and I did not care for the bread they chose to use. It came with provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato. I ate all of it because I hate wasting food and it wasn’t disgusting. BUT the tomato soup was amazing. (My brother had the tomato soup as well and didn’t care for it, so it’s not for everyone.) The soup was made with Fuji apples and there were chunks of the apples in the soup, and I appreciated it. I’ve never had a tomato soup such as this one and it was quite pleasant.

IMG_8296I don’t remember the exact name of this dish but it was jerk blackened chicken with Spanish rice. I tried the rice and it was really good and my family tried the chicken and they said it had a nice jerk flavor and it had a good spice to it.

IMG_8299This was the jambalaya. I know for sure that it has shrimp and chicken in it. I tried a little bit of the sauce and I did not care for it but my family did, the shrimp was flavored beautifully.

IMG_8297This was my favorite dish of all, it is the shrimp and grits dish. It was creamy and amazing. If you’re to ever visit Boll Weevil this is a must get dish. It was perfect. This dish also came with cornbread. I didn’t take a picture of it but it was made with jalapenos and just wow, it was pure perfection. It was crunchy on the outside and warm and spicy on the inside, hands down the best cornbread I have ever had.

And of course we got dessert, we got it to go though because we were stuffed. We ordered the Tropical dream cake which was filled with pineapple and coconut, AMAZING!!!! and we also got the turtle cheesecake, I didn’t care for this one because it was kind of salty but it was not bad at all.

This place was lovely and I’m so happy that it was opened on Sunday.

Must have items!

Over the past several weeks, I have fell in love with a few products:

  •  Coconut Oil
  •  Lemon
  •  Apple Cider Vinegar
  •  Baking Soda
  •  Indian Healing Clay
  •  Ezekiel Bread

Coconut Oil:

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Coconut oil is literally like manna from heaven. This product is probably my absolute favorite. I use it to:

  •  Moisturize my hair and my dogs fur
  •  Oil pulling
  •  Cook with
  •  Moisturize my skin

I haven’t been oil pulling for very long but despite the weird feeling it gives me I have been trying to stick it out and continue. I take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around my mouth for about 20 minutes and then spit it out into the garbage. After I brush my teeth like normal. I have been doing this morning and night for about a week and it feels great. My teeth and mouth feel a lot cleaner. I’m going to continue doing this so I’ll let you guys know what happens.

Oil pulling is said to whiten your teeth, eliminate bad breath and prevent diseases in your gums. It is also said to benefits things other than your mouth such as, reduce congestion, relieve headaches, reduce redness in joints and helps to promote better sleep patterns.

I do not know how true all this information is but it’s kind of interesting.

Everything coconut is pretty much good for you, such as coconut sugar. It’s a lot healthier than regular sugar and can be used just the same!

Lemon:

lemon

Second to coconut oil, lemon is like manna from heavens cousin. I use lemon for various things. I drink warm water throughout the day and I put a little lemon juice in the water. (Also warm water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper) I clean my face probably around 3 days a week with lemon and honey. I have been eating watermelon a lot lately and I put lemon juice on the watermelon chunks and let me tell you! It is amazing, I would have never guessed. You must try it.

Benefits:

Lemon with warm water helps to detox the body

Helps in digestion

Prevents acne and wrinkles

Maintains body pH levels

Apple cider vinegar:

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This vinegar is a little sweeter than your average white vinegar. I use this vinegar to clean my face as well. I have heard that it is good to drink a teaspoon of this vinegar once a day. I have not tried doing this but I think it would be beneficial. I use this vinegar for salad dressing as well. I have completely stopped using salad dressings such as Italian, and Ranch. And I use apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. Seriously it is so much better than those dressings that completely mask the flavors of the vegetables.

I also use this vinegar with two other items on my list!

Benefits:

Lowers blood sugar levels

Help with weight loss

Help with sore throats (Gargle the vinegar with warm water)

And gives you an energy boost!

Baking Soda:

Baking soda doesn’t just have to be for baking. I use this item with my apple cider vinegar and use it for shampoo and conditioner. I know that might sound a little weird but it is actually refreshing. (I got this from a coworker, thanks Jason <3)

So I get two cups and I just put a little bit of vinegar in one and a little bit of the baking soda in another and take it with me to the shower. When I’m ready to wash my hair I take the baking soda cup and fill it half way with water. and then I pour it all over my hair focusing primarily on my scalp. Then I massage my scalp. After a little while I rise that out of my hair with cold water. Then I do the same with the vinegar. You have to make sure you rinse your hair out good though so you don’t end up smelling like vinegar the whole day. But it makes my hair feel smoother and cleaner since it doesn’t have all the chemicals that regular shampoo and conditioner has.

Keep in mind this is not supposed to be used everyday. Since overusing this might strip your hair of its natural oils. I only use it when my hair needs some revitalization and a break from all kinds of products. And with certain hair types it might leave your hair dry. That’s why I focus on my scalp when I’m washing with these items. After I clean my hair with this I moisturize with coconut oil so my hair isn’t so dry.

Baking soda is also great for brushing your teeth. A while ago I tried making my own toothpaste, I kind of failed but I still use it because its so simple to make.

It is just coconut oil, mint essential oil and baking soda.

You can use baking soda for insect bites as well and as a natural deodorant ( my next project).

Indian Healing clay:

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This God-given product that you can get from whole foods has done wonders for my face.

I try to use it once a week or just whenever my face needs it.

I take about a tablespoon of the product and add it with apple cider vinegar. Then I spread it all over my face and wait about 20 minutes for it to dry. You can feel your skin pulsate and tighten. I rinse it off with cold water and it leaves my face red (which lasts for about 15 minutes) but it is like a new face, so fresh and clean.

This product is made of bentonite clay which is referred to as Aztec magic.

This clay helps to get your cells more oxygen and be able to breathe.

It relieves digestion problems.

Improves the health of teeth and mouth

It can also be used as an alternative to baby powder!

Ezekiel bread:

Aka the Bible bread. I love bread, I will eat bread all day and night and that’s kind of a problem for me. Because of my love for bread I have been trying alternatives, such as wraps made from rice and things of that nature but this Ezekiel bread is perfect. To be honest it took me a little to get used to this bread. It is not like other bread. They do not have flour, it is organic, it is made out of 6 different grains and legumes and it tastes great. I’ll typically eat the bread like toast with coconut oil on it. It’s amazing. They have different flavors but my favorite is the sprouted grain. Give this bread a chance and you’ll love it too.

These items are not that hard to get and have multiple uses so it saves money and time!

Happy Saturday ❤